Findings from Adfam’s Inclusivity Forum

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Close up of holding hands
Photo by Joey Yu on Unsplash

Adfam’s National Forum on inclusion saw discussion around barriers to inclusion, as well as the changes needed at service and policy levels to help the substance use sector meet the needs of the UK’s diverse population.

It is widely acknowledged that some communities are underserved by substance and mental health services; however the scale of the problem remains a persistent data blindspot.

The Government’s annual Substance Misuse Treatment Statistics Report, informed by the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS), doesn’t collect data on ethnic identity.

The emergence of specialist treatment services for people who are Black, Asian, or from another minority ethnic group, such as Kikit and the Shanti Project indicates that mainstream services need to do more to meet the needs of different communities.

Though there is no official data on who is not accessing services, or their ethnicity, the clues are there: in 2019-20 almost half the people in treatment for alcohol, and over half of those in treatment for crack and opiate use, were living in areas ranked in the 30% most deprived areas. Most minority groups are much more likely than people in the ‘white British’ ethnic grouping to live in the most deprived areas in the UK (Gov.UK ‘People Living in Deprived Neighbourhoods’, 2020).

There is no reason to believe that people from ethnic minority groups would be immune to the conditions that produce a higher prevalence of substance related harm in deprived communities, and so it is likely that mainstream substance use and family support services are missing some of the most vulnerable groups in our community.

Read the full blog post here.


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