NEARLY 6,000 adults in Bradford are estimated to be dependent on alcohol, figures from Public Health England have revealed.
Analysis by the UK Addiction Group (UKAT) shows the total for 2017/18 - 5,958 - has slightly fallen from 6,009 in 2010.
The decrease means Bradford Council is one of only four councils in Yorkshire and the Humber which has seen a marginal reduction in the number of people living with alcohol dependence in the last seven years.
On a regional level, the number of alcohol-dependent adults stands at almost 64,000 - up from just over 63,000 in 2010.
Alcohol dependence is a syndrome characterised by a strong - and sometimes overpowering - desire to drink which may take priority over other previously valued activities.
UKAT says councils are “lack-lustre” when it comes to prioritising treating people for alcohol addiction.
“Unfortunately, alcohol is just as harmful a drug than heroin is, but a lot of people don’t or don’t want to see it that way,’’ said UKAT’s Group Treatment Lead, Nuno Albuquerque.
“Councils across Yorkshire assumed lead responsibility for alcohol service provision back in 2013, giving them full autonomy of how and where they spend their annual Public Health Grant, yet the numbers of people dependent on alcohol and in need of treatment overall is rising instead of falling. Although it is marginal, it should be the opposite direction. There is no excuse for this.”
Earlier this year, UKAT lodged a Freedom of Information request to see how many publicly-funded residential drug and alcohol rehab facilities had closed down since councils took responsibility for the Public Health Grant back in 2013.
The results show that across Yorkshire, there were 14 rehabs available to treat people with alcohol dependence back in 2013, and now, only seven remain active.
A spokesperson for Bradford Council said: “Addressing alcohol dependency remains a priority for the Bradford district and the Local Authority works with primary care, local hospitals and other NHS and community sector organisations to educate individuals and signpost them to suitable services.
“Alongside the NHS Bradford district and Craven CCGs, the Local Authority commissions services which supports people with alcohol (and/or drug) issues to identify problematic use earlier and to prevent dependency - and, for individuals who are dependent, to support them to move towards and sustain recovery.
"Services available include New Directions, a drug and alcohol recovery service which is provided by Change, Grow, Live (CGL).
“It is important that when an individual asks for help and support with alcohol or drug use, this is provided in a timely and confidential manner and services in Bradford always aim to achieve this with contact being available in a range of settings including GP surgeries, pharmacies and other local community venues.
“The range of options and access routes is a real positive and assists service users accessing treatment and moving into recovery.
"If anyone is concerned about their own or a relative or friends drug or alcohol use they can contact New Directions on 01274 296023.”