'Ambitious' extra rehab places will be provided for Portsmouth residents with £100,000 'risk-free' council funds

ADDITIONAL and longer rehab placements will now be available for drug and alcohol dependent Portsmouth residents after the council agreed to contribute up to £100,000.

Friday, 7th February 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 7th February 2020, 3:16 pm
Portsmouth has one of the highest drug death rates in the country. PA Photo: Paul Faith

A total of 12 'ambitious' residential rehabilitation spaces will be covered by a 'risk-free' bond set up between Big Issue Invest and Portsmouth City Council.

As part of the deal the council will only pay out if the clients successfully complete treatment and are in permanent employment for three months.

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Speaking at a health and wellbeing cabinet meeting yesterday Alan Knobel, the council's substance misuse co-ordinator, said: 'Both drugs and alcohol have significant negative impacts in Portsmouth.

'This funding would help us increase the placements already available.

'The social impact bond takes the risk away. At the moment if we place someone in treatment we could put them in and they relapse.

'From 12 people we'd expect two would go through to sustainable employment. We would have to pay £50,000 for each of them but if there are any more than that we wouldn't have to pay.'

There are an estimated 3,075 adults in Portsmouth who are dependent on alcohol and around 292 are receiving treatment at any one time.

An estimated 1,541 adults are dependent on illicit opiates and/or crack cocaine in the city, with 759 currently in treatment.

Portsmouth has one of the highest rates of drug-related deaths in England, with a rate of 8.8 people per 100,000, more than double the average for the national average of 4.3 per 100,000.

Currently the council spends around £130,000 a year on rehab services. Before government cuts six years ago this was close to £1m a year.

Councillor Matthew Winnington approved the funds. He said: 'It's important we give people who are the most vulnerable the right type of service rather than just what the council can provide.

'At the end of it longer term funding will need to be sourced.'

The bond will end in 2021.

If clients don't complete treatment Big Issue Invest will cover the costs.

Rehabs used by Portsmouth residents include Yeldall Manor in Berkshire and the ANA treatment centre in Farlington.