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Alcohol Dependency

Volume 407: debated on Wednesday 18 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what measures are in place to provide a multi-agency approach to treatment for those with alcohol dependency who also have mental health and other drug problems. [119906]

The Department of Health issued guidance last year on the management and delivery of effective treatment for adults with severe mental illness and co-existing drug or alcohol misuse problems. The guidance highlights the responsibilities of drug action teams and local implementation teams to work together locally in order to implement the guidance in accordance with local needs.The National Treatment Agency for substance misuse has also issued guidance in the last year for commissioners, 'Models of Care'. The framework of this guidance applies to alcohol and drug treatment services and strongly supports the development of multi-agency approaches to treatment based on comprehensive assessment of needs, including for those with dual diagnoses. In addition, the National Institute for Mental Health in England is also working to identify how access to effective treatment can be improved and waiting times reduced. Many of the services affected by this work are joint drug and alcohol services.The Department of Health is preparing a new strategy on alcohol harm reduction which will set out a coherent and practical framework for a responsible approach which reinforces the message about sensible drinking and seeks to tackle alcohol misuse in all its forms. The NHS Plan said that we will be implementing the strategy by 2004, and we are on course to achieve that target. The Cabinet Office strategy unit is to undertake a project on alcohol misuse. Conclusions from the project will form the basis of the Government's alcohol strategy.