The subject of Brexit has been quite a talking point over the past few years since Britain decided to vote to exit the European Union. One topic that a lot of people have been worrying about is healthcare. Will we still have easy access to medications and life-saving drugs? Will there be a shortage of staff and medication once we leave the European Union?

As the new deadline approaches, it’s a good idea to turn this topic to addiction treatments too. How will Brexit affect addiction treatment for drugs or alcohol abuse?

Addiction treatments in the UK have already suffered from years of budget cuts to NHS drugs and alcohol teams. This has meant a steady increase in the number of alcohol and drug-related deaths.

Statistics at NHS Digitals show that back in 2017, a terrifying number of 6,000 people died in England, just from alcohol addiction.


Residential rehabs closed due to budget cuts

In a move that has had wide-reaching and potentially devastating consequences to the nation’s drug and alcohol addicts, residential rehab centres have been shut down across the country over the past few years.

Of course, not everyone can afford to check themselves into private residential rehab centres, so cuts to publicly funded ones are potentially dangerous for those who need help.


No clear policy on addiction treatments

Unfortunately, the process of drawing up agreements and policies for once we leave the EU has been a hectic process at best. There are still plenty of areas of public services without any clear policies in place, leaving us guessing on the future. One of those is addiction treatments.

There is so far no clear post-Brexit policy on alcohol or drug addiction which would see the number of deaths decrease, more regulations or harm reduction measures introduced. This has left plenty of addicts and those who work in addiction treatment a bit in the dark.

Could legalising drugs be the answer? Check out the pros and cons of legalising drugs here »

Policy restrictions on alcohol

Exiting the European Union means the UK gets an opportunity to address and reform its policy on alcohol. It’s possible that with a higher tax on alcohol, this money could be used to fund public addiction treatments.

Some have also called for more transparency over alcohol labelling, highlighting that there is more nutritional information on food than there is on alcohol.

If Britain does not take the opportunity to reassess alcohol policies, this could be a missed opportunity at best, and at worst could lead to an addiction crisis if no firm policies are laid out to fulfil harm reduction measures.


Tackling the illegal drug trade, post-Brexit

In 2018 a letter was addressed to the Government and published in the British Medical Journal which raising concerns about the drug trade post-Brexit.

The letter highlighted Britain’s rejection of the EU Court of Justice and the EMCDDA would make it much harder to monitor the illegal drug trade to Britain.

The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (DMCDDA) is an organisation which plays a huge role in battling against illegal drug trades across Europe.

The letter said: “Collaboration between the UK and the EMCDDA has been transformative, making a major contribution to national drug policy and the fight against organised crime,” and further highlighted that “exclusion from its operations poses a severe threat to both.”

With Britain potentially losing direct access to the Europol database, it means it could be in the dark about drug trafficking and known criminals across Europe.

The letter also went on to say how useful the EMCDDA has been in fighting against the illegal drug trade.

“It covers everything, from early warning systems for new psychoactive substances, things like GHB, spice or ‘AK47’, all the synthetic cannabinoids, through to the current infection rate among people injecting heroin and opioid overdoses. But it also links to Europol, and tools they have which allow criminal record checks.”


What does this mean for Britain’s drug problem?

The drug problem in Britain has been steadily rising for the past few years. A combination of mental health issues and lack of funding for addiction treatment has meant that many people have turned to drugs or alcohol to cope and there hasn’t been enough support to get them out of that world.

What will leaving the EU mean for Britain? We don’t know for certain what effect leaving the EU will have on drug and alcohol addiction problems. However, if we abandon the EU rules and policies including the DMCDDA organisation, it could spell bad news for Britain’s addicts.

An example of this has already been seen in Denmark, which decided to reject oversights from the EU Court of Justice. This means that Denmark must make hundreds of thousands of requests every year in order to gain access to vital information from EU databases.

This could put further strain on services which have already suffered budget cuts. It’s likely that things will slip through the net. Illegal drug trading may not get the same amount of attention or tools used to reduce the amount of drugs on the streets.

This could have huge consequences for those already struggling with drug addiction.


Getting addiction treatment from residential rehab

If you find yourself needing help with alcohol or drug addiction, there is help at hand through private rehab.

At the Ocean Recovery Centre, we have helped countless individuals and families deal with the devastating effects of drugs or alcohol addiction.

Ocean Recovery Centre takes a multi-pronged approach to addiction treatment. We treat not only the physical dependence and physical health issues, but we also focus on mental health issues and overall well-being.

This means we are able to treat the root cause of the addiction and offer you realistic coping strategies to apply to your life after rehab. With free aftercare for a year after completing an addiction treatment programme, you will be supported even after you leave.

To get the help that you need, all you have to do is make the first step and get in touch with the Ocean Recovery Centre by calling us on 01253 847 553 or by texting HELP to 83222.

If you are an occasional user of cannabis, it might be in your blood for only 24 hours. People who tend to smoke more regularly, will have the drug in their blood for a longer time

Find out more in our blog How Long Does Cannabis Stay In Your System?

John Gillen - Author - Last updated: December 14, 2021

John is one UK’s leading professionals in the addiction recovery industry. Pioneering new treatment techniques such as NAD+ and ongoing research into new therapy techniques such as systematic laser therapy, John is committed to providing the very best treatment for people throughout the UK and Europe. During his extremely busy schedule, John likes to regularly update our blog section with the latest news and trends in the industry to keep visitors to our site as well informed as possible on everything related to addiction treatment.