Just one in ten drug and alcohol misusers successfully complete treatment

Just one in 10 people who attended drug and alcohol treatment services between January and March successfully completed their treatment.

The findings, published today by the Welsh Government, draws on data collated by NHS Wales from the Welsh National Database for Substance Misuse (WNDSM), which contains details of all referrals to drug and alcohol agencies in Wales.

It shows that between January and March of this year just 13% of patients were deemed substance-free by the end of their treatment – that’s 805 out of 6084 people who were treated.

Referrals to treatment have also gone up by 8.2% since the last quarter.

Of the 4,019 people who started treatment between January and March, 12% waited between four to 12 weeks to start treatment and 2.4% waited between six to nine months.

1,677 referrals did not attend their assessments or treatments, despite being categorized as a closure – a term used to describe a patient who stops attending treatment – which represents 27.5% of all closures.

A further 2.5% of closures had their treatment withdrawn and 5.2% were declined treatment.


The data only relates to people attending treatment services for substance misuse and as a result only represents a proportion of all substance misusers.

Commenting on the data, Welsh Conservative Shadow Secretary for Health, Angela Burns AM, said:

“With such a low success rate, you really have to question whether the treatment strategies delivered via these services are still fit-for-purpose?

“I would suggest that these services are offering outmoded treatments which are inadequate to tackling these very complex and stubborn issues.

“We need a proper analysis as to why there is such a big failure rate and I call on the Welsh Government to turn their attentions to this as a matter of urgency.

“There is simply no point throwing more and more money at services which are patently failing the people who so desperately need help and support.”

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Team @ AberdareOnline

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