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COVID-19 Kicks Addicts Whilst They’re Down


By David Saunders | UPDATED: 11:28, 27 April 2020

Leading addiction treatment provider has warned how the current Coronavirus crisis is affecting those suffering with drug and alcohol addiction in seeking the immediate help they need because of a ‘media-fuelled, widespread assumption that everything has stopped’, whilst at the same time, predict a surge in the number of people relapsing back into drug and alcohol abuse.

The UK Addiction Treatment Group, also known as UKAT, has exclusively revealed that admissions into their seven residential rehabilitation facilities across the country has reduced by almost 20% in the last month alone.

Before the global pandemic began, UKAT admitted an average of 160 patients per month, treating upwards of 2,000 addicts each year for any and all types of addiction and mental health disorders.

In the last 4 weeks, UKAT has admitted 146 clients for addiction treatment during the current global pandemic. This compares to 178 in the same time period last year.

But since the country-wide lockdown began, they’re warning that there’ll be countless people in serious danger at home as the assumption that all treatment other than that for COVID-19 has stopped.

Nuno Albuquerque, Group Treatment Lead, UKAT

“There are people who need immediate treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, and their needs run in parallel with the people who need immediate treatment for COVID-19”, says UKAT’s Group Treatment Lead, Nuno Albuquerque.

He continues;

“Our concern is that since the country was advised into lockdown, almost everywhere and everything has closed and stopped, and unfortunately this has led to a widespread assumption that this also includes treatment facilities like ourselves. But this isn’t the case. 

“We’re still admitting clients every day, we’re fighting a pandemic within a pandemic, and by following regulations and protocols provided by Public Health England, the wonderful NHS and the Care Quality Commission, we continue to provide exceptional addiction treatment for those most vulnerable in society at this extremely difficult time. No one should be suffering with addiction without being able to access the help that they need.”

The current Coronavirus crisis has crippled the NHS and has forced vital support services for those already in recovery like the Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Cocaine Anonymous groups into providing their help virtually. Experts at UKAT warn of a potential surge in the number of people relapsing in the community, as the pressures from lockdown could scupper those in stable recovery from drugs and alcohol across the country.

And as for addicts seeking initial treatment and to start their road to recovery, there is almost nowhere for them to go, other than to hospital.

Recent Public Health England data revealed that the number of people admitted into hospital because of alcohol has risen by 60% and for drugs by 30% in the last decade, and is a figure that has risen year on year for the last ten years.

Nuno continues;

“Just because we’re in the midst of the Coronavirus crisis does not mean that your family members, friends, colleagues or neighbours won’t be suffering with the addictive tendencies that they had before the virus hit this country.

Unfortunately, we are speaking with and supporting a handful of clients who have unfortunately relapsed back into drug and alcohol abuse during the crisis, and we predict this to continue.

“People are still suffering, and probably even more so now. It’s hard to describe how important it is that these people still get the help they need today, not when the pandemic has passed, because for some, that might be too late.”

UKAT has put into place impressive safety precautions that not only follow the advice provided by Public Health England, the NHS and the Care Quality Commission, but has also gone over and above in order to protect their clients and their staff.

New clients seeking addiction treatment must first spend 7 days in supported isolation at one of UKAT’s two Shielding Facilities and if they’re without any symptoms at any time, they’ll then begin their treatment programme at one of their residential rehabilitation centres.

For more information on UKAT’s COVID-19 Safety Measures, visit