Ipswich addiction charity warns worst is yet to come as alcohol deaths rise

Brian Tobin of Iceni, which developed the Venta programme in Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT

Brian Tobin of Iceni has warned drugs and alcohol treatment "cutbacks" have made the situation worse for families living with addiction issues.

An addiction charity in Ipswich says it has seen a "huge rise" in people needing help in the last year - and fears it could get worse.

Iceni, which supports children and parents affected by addiction and domestic abuse in Suffolk, has over 30 families desperately seeking help from their support services. The news comes as new figures show alcohol-related deaths in the region have hit a 20-year high.

CEO of Iceni Brian Tobin explains the charity just does not have the resources to help everyone it wants to. 

"There has been huge cut back in alcohol treatment," Mr Tobin said. "It's hard to find funding. 

"It's still such a challenging issue. I don't think we've recognised what impact it has." 

In the charity's over 20 years, he says he has never seen such a "huge rise" in families needing their help. 

"We have 140 families on our books," he said. "With around 30 to 40 families that we've been unable to provide a service for and who are still on our wait list."

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The end of Covid restrictions, Mr Tobin thinks, will mean even more people able to finally seek treatment, when much of their work has taken place online. 

"This impact will be felt for a generation to come.

"We're already starting to look at putting resources in place. 

"People need to get help before this becomes a crisis."

Last week data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that 2020 was the highest year for alcohol-related deaths in 20 years in the East of England. 

The death rate by alcohol per 100,000 people went from 5.3 in 2001 in the region, which contains Suffolk and Essex, to 9.2 in 2020, the worst year yet. 

Mr Tobin said the deaths - defined as directly caused by misuse of alcohol - could be a direct result of people not seeking help during the coronavirus pandemic. 

"People die when they don't get treatment," he said. "There is still a huge stigma attached to addiction 

"We cannot sustain this when so many people are wanting treatment. This will last many years to come."

If you need help for drugs and alcohol services in Suffolk please go here

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