In the end we’ll all pay price of detox unit’s closure

If you're going to do a job, do it properly... and not just before Christmas

CHERYL GIBBS: Decorating (badly) and Christmas do not mix

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When the world’s economy crashed amid the banking crisis of 2008 and ushered in the austerity years, we knew the repercussions would go deep.

But it took many years before we realised into quite how many dark corners of society the tentacles of recession would wriggle before striking fatal blows.

Eight years on and we see the impact – the human cost of the crash.

It was not long before the government’s cuts in spending filtered down to local authorities. Suddenly it became clear what austerity really meant as those ranging from children to the elderly lost vital services.

And the latest to suffer are drug and alcohol addicts who, until this week, received 24/7 treatment at the Baytrees Residential Detox Centre at St James’s Hospital, Portsmouth.

It shut its doors on Monday after 20 years because several councils, Hampshire and Portsmouth among them, would no longer pay for beds there for their residents. They wouldn’t pay because they couldn’t pay.

There are those who argue that people who have become drink and drug-addicted have brought it on themselves and should therefore find the funds themselves to become dry and clean.

Those are the lucky ones who have never suffered the mental illness which has led to these addictions and which can happen to anyone.

As we have reported, there are many who owe their lives to Baytrees. Yes, some might be capable of detoxing in the community, but there are those with complex mental needs or who need intense detoxification who will not get the round-the-clock care they need so desperately.

And that’s when we shall all have to pick up the pieces, and the tab, for this short-sighted closure.