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Councils are making “deep cuts” to addiction services despite soaring alcohol-related hospital admissions and deaths, with further cuts projected.
Nearly 60 per cent of local authorities have slashed budgets for these services over the last year, amid government cuts to public health grants.
Some councils axed as much as a third of the money set aside to help addicts, and Birmingham reported the biggest reduction after wiping nearly £4m from its budget.
Experts are concerned the lack of specialist services means underlying addiction problems are not being addressed, leading to additional strain on the NHS.
A&E cases involving alcohol surged by 13 per cent over the past decade, and NHS data revealed last week showed deaths related to drinking reached record levels of nearly 6,000 last year.
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said fatalities had reached “shamefully high” levels as austerity created a “breeding ground” for drug and alcohol abuse.