New figures have revealed that a large number of people in the UK are receiving benefits for sickness relating to drug or alcohol addiction. Almost 47,000 people are receiving Employment and Support Allowance because of alcohol abuse, while over 28,000 receive the same benefit because of a drug addiction.

Public Anger

While there may be public anger that taxpayers’ money is being used for those out of work because of addiction, it is important to point out that many recovering addicts face a difficult task trying to find work. Many employers will simply not consider employing someone who has previously had an addiction to drugs such as cocaine or heroin. There is a certain stigma attached to drug addiction and it appears to follow those in recovery in terms of getting their lives back and returning to work.

Difficulties Faced by Recovering Addicts

These new figures have shown that there are more people on benefits for drug related problems in Bristol than in any other part of the UK. According to Maggie Telfor who works at the Bristol Drugs Project, those in recovery face being stigmatised all the time because of their problems. She said, “You can’t label someone as a worthless addict. We see people struggling with drugs who also have physical health problems and mental ill health, which means they cannot work. They are complex human beings.”

She also said that, those who come out the other side of addiction need to be supported to enable them to rebuild their lives. Many of those in recovery want to work but find it difficult to gain employment.

Government Policies

Despite the difficulties faced by recovering addicts, a Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said that the Government has attempted to change the way that drug treatment is delivered by working towards full recovery instead of focusing on short-term solutions. He said, “Having a drug or alcohol addiction does not entitle someone to sickness benefits, but the associated long-term health effects may.”

He also said that new systems were being introduced that will include assessments and will be carried out face-to-face. There will also be regular updates and reviews.

Importance of Supporting Those with Addiction

Alcohol and drug addiction are illnesses, but the stigma attached to them often becomes a barrier for some people when it comes to getting help. Research has shown that addiction is a mental illness and needs to be treated as such but the problem is that society still views addiction as a failing or a weakness on the part of the individual affected. There is a certain amount of embarrassment and shame associated with addiction and many sufferers are discriminated against because of this. Because it is not uncommon for alcoholics and drug addicts to be excluded and isolated from society, it is unsurprising that many of them are reluctant to seek help for their problems.

Those with addiction problems need the support of family, friends, and the community if they are to get better. By tackling addiction head on, the problem can be dealt with effectively. Addiction is difficult to treat alone and those with this problem need to be able to rely on the support of others to make it through the often-tough recovery process.

Where to Get Help

Addicts and their family members often want to get help but do not know where to find it. At Addiction Helper, we have a team of expert counsellors and advisors who have been fully trained in all aspects of addiction, including the various treatment options available.

Our experts can provide advice and information on NHS options as well as various private organisations throughout the UK and across the world. Call us today for a confidential assessment of your treatment needs.

Source: The Bristol Post

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