DUDLEY Council is among local authorities accused of not doing enough to help people coping with alcoholism.

According to an analysis of Public Health England statistics by the UK Addiction Treatment Group (UKAT), in 2017/18 3,617 people were dependant on alcohol.

This is 13 out of every 1,000 people and represents a reduction of 115 since 2010 which is not enough according to UKAT, which operates residential treatment centres for addiction around the UK.

UKAT’s Group Treatment Lead, Nuno Albuquerque, said: “Councils across the West Midlands 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 isn’t reducing as much as you’d expect after seven years."

Across the West Midlands there were 62,570 adults dependant on alcohol in 2017/18 and a freedom of information request by UKAT revealed there were 10 residential rehabilitation units available to treat people with alcohol dependence in 2013 but three have since closed.

Deborah Harkins, director of public health and wellbeing at Dudley Council, said: “We commission a range of services for people with drug and alcohol dependency issues, from initial advice, to treatment for people with more complex needs.

"They use residential rehabilitation centres across the country, facilitated through our Integrated Substance Misuse service.

"We also work in partnership with Dudley Walsall Mental Health Trust to provide an inpatient detox service more locally.”

The latest figures from Dudley Council show the authority spends £2.4m on helping people with drug and alcohol misuse issues.

There are 480 people accessing the service for alcohol related issues while 1,278 used the service for drug-related problems and the council spends £167,000 on residential rehabilitation across the country.

Nuno Albuquerque added: "If the councils decide to opt for other - more than likely, cheaper - types of care for their patients, like community day centres, then these facilities lack vital funding and over time, have ceased operation.

"Quite simply, greater investment in effective treatment facilities, accessibility and awareness will help lower the number of people in this community suffering with alcohol dependence.”