TAXPAYERS are forking out £3.6billion a year to keep addicts on drugs and benefits.
The annual bill amounts to £11,250 for each of the 320,000 drug addicts signed up to the state’s methadone programme.
A quarter of those have been on it for more than four years and half for at least two years.
The figures are revealed as a report today by the Centre for Policy Studies think tank calls for a switch from keeping addicts on drugs towards abstinence rehabilitation. It wants organisations to be paid for every addict they get off drink and drugs for six months. Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke wants to keep addicts out of jail by moving them to rehabilitation schemes.
A series of eight “payment by results” pilot projects is being launched in October.
However, the CPS has branded the solution “seriously misguided” and “doomed to failure”.
Report author Kathy Gyngell calls for “a real transfer of power from large distant organisations to small innovative providers” which concentrate on getting people to kick the habit.
The cost of maintaining addicts on methadone has doubled since 2003 to £730million a year. They get a further £1.7billion in benefits while the welfare bill for their children is £1.2billion a year.
However, fewer than four per cent who enter into state programmes emerge clean.
A Health Department spokesman said: “The 2010 Drug Strategy is fundamentally different. The aim is to get people into treatment, off drugs for good and back into work.”
Express.co.UK 19th June 2011