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Alcoholics - Clean up or less benefits

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru

Yet another awful, rushed, cynical and ill thought out policy decision, with little sound evidence base - another gesture of a flailing, hubristic government.

The worst thing about it is that on first hearing it sounds like common sense;

1) More money for treatment
2) Less cost to the taxpayer
3) The ring of punative 'toughness' for those who get off on such things

The problem is that this is a drug that under the current government has become more widely available at cheaper prices than at any other time in British social history. This is one factor in the rise of dependant alcoholism.

If people are drinking themselves to death and are addicted to alcohol then the whole cost/benefit rationalising of 'straight' thinking does little to capture the shambolic and compulsive psychology of people who often have little willed control left.

They might have had the choice to pick up the first can, but by can 50 the idea of personal choice is much hazier, as neurological evidence on dependant alcoholism has shown.

Take the money away and they'll just steal - or go to other sources, it won't stop them drinking - thats the nature of addiction.

Many alcoholics (especially those on benefits) tend lead undisciplined, chaotic lives - and people who are most at risk are those with unstructured, unstable lives in the first place (e.g: the unemployed, those who have mental health problems, those who have suffered abuse or neglect or traumatic events without access to support, and the isolated).

This is not to state that all people are 'powerless' or that it's only structural factors affecting this - empowering or encouraging people to take control of their lives is a key factor in maintaining recovery as we currently understand it.

However, there is small but interesting strand of evidence involving a drug called Baclofen (a muscle relaxant) that could have serious implications for the way we understand and treat alcoholism.



  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It's like most things, it sounds great in theory but the practice will be a fiasco. I have very little sympathy for those with addictions, regardless of cause it is a choice, but that doesn't mean this is the right way to go about things.

    The big concern I have is that the DAT teams in social services won't touch you unless you make a concerted effort to go clean, a lot of people can't or won't do that.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Stupid decision.

    It may sound good and the thing to do for people not with addictions. It'll be easier said than done for alcoholics to stop drinking.

    Think first.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Little bit different from Kermit's view, but I do feel sympathy for those with addictions. I've known a couple of mates go completely off the rails with drugs and alcohol because of some very, very nasty things that have happened to them in the past.

    Fair enough, it might be a choice, but the reason they intoxicate themselves so badly is because it makes them feel better about themselves and it's easier for them to accept what has happened to them.

    Thankfully, my mates have sorted themselves out, but myself and them believe that they never would have sorted themselves out if it wasn't for the support they received from clinics, counsellors and, of course, the government for supporting them financially.

    As Martin_Bashir says, take the money away and they will steal.. either that or get into some deeper trouble or damage themselves. I really don't agree with this new decision, most of these people genuinely NEED help and going by my mates who've experience addiction they have been very willing to get straight back into work once they've sorted themselves out.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If there was actually treatment available for alcoholics then some of them might go into it. Most of the money is put into drug treatment (huge sums of it wasted because they only measure those going in, or those 'in treatment' they dont measure how many actually go clean) because druggies cause crime where as alcoholics frequently dont.
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