The aim of the paper is to articulate a framework for current service provision for substance abusers in the UK, using some of the core principles of the NHS plan. Historically, both the development of alcohol and drug treatment services has been within the domain of general psychiatric services in the United Kingdom. The UK Government has adopted a comprehensive demand reduction strategy to tackle substance abuse through various policies and guidelines. With the introduction of the National Treatment Agency for Substance Abusers, the purpose is to double the number of people in effective, well-managed treatment; and to increase the proportion of people completing or appropriately continuing treatment, year on year.
The core principles of the NHS Plan are the provision of a universal service for all, based on clinical need, provision of a comprehensive range of services, continuous improvement in quality service provision, support for and value of staff, devotion of public funds for healthcare solely to patients, Joint working with other parties to ensure a seamless service for patients, promotion of health and reduction of health inequalities and Respect for confidentiality of individual patients and provision of open access to information about services, treatment and performance. Through the Models of Care, services are now to be developed along the line: Tier 1: Non-Substance Misuse Specific Services Requiring Interface with Drug and Alcohol Treatment, Tier 2: Open Access Drug & Alcohol Treatment Services, Tier 3: Structured Community-Based Drug Treatment Services and Tier 4: Residential Drug and Alcohol Misuse Specific Services.