NEWS COMMENT: Addiction programmes need to be up to standard

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REGARDLESS of how they got themselves into the situation, drug addicts are among the most vulnerable members of society.

And as such they should be given every opportunity to help turn their lives around.

If we want to facilitate that, then there has to be a certain duty of care in place – and standards that will need to be upheld.

According to the Care Quality Commission, the body which was set up to regulate and inspect health and social care services, the Portsmouth-based Addiction Recovery Centres Ltd (ARC) was found lacking.

The CQC’s damning report labelled the facility as ‘inadequate,’ as inspectors found ‘derogatory and offensive’ language was used in a client’s records, staff training was not up to the required level and appropriate DBS-related assessments had not been carried out.

While half of the people treated there are private patients and would have paid themselves, the other half were referred by councils and health bodies.

Any body which takes public money should be held fully accountable for the service it provides.

The centre’s manager has launched a strong defence of the claims, and a subsequent inspection has shown that things are moving in the right direction. Hopefully the facility has now turned a corner and the problems raised in the report are being ironed out.

We are not saying that all drug addicts have led blameless lives – who has? – but do they deserve to be further punished when they are trying to turn their lives around?

There needs to be a robust system in place that can rehabilitate those who want to rid themselves of this life-destroying habit. It’s true, no rehab course is 100 per cent successful, but if we handicap patients’ chances from the off by putting them in substandard care, then what chance to do they have?