Data on individuals in structured drug treatment are collected by the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA) via the national drug treatment monitoring system (NDTMS).
The NDTMS counts the number of people successfully leaving treatment each year free of their drug of dependency. This figure is made up of two categories:
‘Treatment completed free of dependency (no drug use)’; and
‘Treatment completed free of dependency (occasional use)’.
‘Treatment completed free of dependency (no drug use)’ means that in the opinion of the treating clinician, the client is not only free of dependency but is not using any other illicit drugs at all on exiting treatment.
‘Treatment completed free of dependency (occasional use)’ means that the client is not misusing heroin or crack, but there may be occasional use of other illicit drugs, for example, cannabis which is judged by the clinician neither to be problematic nor to require treatment.
The two categories together give the total number of clients leaving treatment free of dependency, which is one of the ways in which the NTA measures successful treatment outcomes.
Neither category includes alcohol use, as people recorded on the NDTMS are seeking help for a primary drug problem. However, alcohol misuse by primary drug misusers would be addressed during treatment and the NTA would expect that clinicians continue to address alcohol dependence as appropriate if, and when, a client is no longer drug dependent nor monitored through NDTMS. Data on people receiving treatment for primary alcohol misuse are collected by the national alcohol treatment monitoring system for the Department of Health.