THE number of drug users being treated in Kirklees has doubled, with more than 2,000 heroin and crack addicts getting help in the past year.
Kirklees Drug and Alcohol Action Team says that over the past five years, the number of users being treated has gone up twofold.
And the number of addicts completing their treatment over a three year period has tripled.
The team has also managed to drop waiting times for its services from 13 weeks in 2004 to less than a week.
More people are receiving team help, including counselling and prescribing services at GP surgeries, pharmacies or through the Lifeline agency.
Surveys of people using the service show that 81% of heroin and crack cocaine users have reduced their drug intake. About 73% of these people have shown health improvements and 71% have reduced their offending.
The team’s success has led to it receiving a maximum score in its annual service improvement review, carried out by health watchdogs the Healthcare Commission and the National Treatment Agency.
The review looked at services provided by the team for adult substance abusers and drugs offenders.
Kirklees Drug and Alcohol Action Team was rated as ‘excellent’ and received the maximum rating of four stars.
It was placed in the top 10 of 149 council areas for its treatment record.
Tony Cooke, assistant director for drugs, alcohol and community safety at Kirklees Primary Care Trust, said: “We are delighted with the outcome of the inspection.
“This supports the trailblazing approach taken in Kirklees to improve health and reduce crime and, once again, shows the strength of our services.
“In the long term, reducing drug use leads to safer, stronger communities.”
The review said the team was strong when it came to getting good outcomes for service users, being aware of local needs, managing the service and providing value for money.
Its strong links with the council, the police and probation services were also praised.
The team’s success is linked to heavy investment over the past two years.
Money has been pumped into securing more doctors, nurses and specialist workers for drug and alcohol service and a new resource centre has been established to support drug using parents, their children and families.
In the last year the team has introduced more education and training courses to help people into employment once they have come off drugs.
The Government Health Department’s National Treatment Outcome Research Programme has shown that for every £1 spent on drug treatment services £5 are saved in the NHS and criminal justice system.