Treatment completion and 6-month success rates for drug users

Individuals achieving successful completion of drug treatment demonstrate a significant improvement in health and well-being in terms of increased longevity, reduced blood-borne virus transmission, improved parenting skills and improved physical and psychological health.

These outcomes also align with the ambition of both public health and the Government's drug strategy of increasing the number of individuals recovering from addiction. They also align well with the reducing re-offending outcome [see Public Health Outcomes Framework Indicator 1.13] as offending behaviour is closely linked to substance use and it is well demonstrated that cessation of drug use reduces re-offending significantly. This in turn will have benefits to a range of wider services and will address those who cause the most harm in local communities.

How has the successful treatment rate of opiate drug users changed over time?

The number of opiate drug users aged between 18 and 75 undergoing successful completion of drug treatment increased by 25% between 2010 and 2011, rising from 6.6% to 8.6% of all users in treatment. Performance has decreased each year since, dropping to 7.4% in 2014. Overall, the number of opiate drug users undergoing treatment in England dropped from 168,268 people in 2010 to 152,952 people in 2014.

How has the successful treatment rate of non-opiate drug users changed over time?

The number of non-opiate drug users aged between 18 and 75 undergoing successful completion of drug treatment increased between January 2010 and December 2012, rising from 34.4% to 39.2%. The treatment success rate is much higher in non-opiate drug users than opiate drug users. In England, there are roughly three times the number of opiate users compared to non-opiate users. Overall, the number of non-opiate drug users undergoing treatment in England increased from 52,487 people in 2010 to 55,369 people in 2014.

About this data

These indicators are derived from data obtained from the National Drug Monitoring System which collects, collates and analyses information from and for those involved in the drug and alcohol treatment sector. All drug treatment agencies must provide a basic level of information to the NDTMS on their activities each month.

The indicators are defined as the number of users of opiates or non-opiates (between 18 and 75 years of age) that left drug treatment successfully (free of drug/drugs of dependence) who do not then re-present to treatment again within 6 months, as a percentage of the total number of opiate or non-opiate users in treatment. The method used in reporting non-opiate use was updated in November 14 to reflect the fact that some people are receiving treatment for drugs and alcohol across a continuous pathway of care, while at the same time acknowledging that they are not on the road to recovery unless they complete treatment successfully for both.

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