Tools for assessing value for money for alcohol and drug treatment

Public Health England Blog. Published online: 25 July 2016

In 2014-15 there were 295,244 adults in alcohol and drug treatment services across England.

The latest official statistics on drug-related deaths in England showed the highest number of substance misuse related death since these records began and highlights a worrying rise in the number of older, more vulnerable drug users dying from heroin overdose.

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Image source: Sean Stephens – Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

PHE economic tools

PHE produces several tools to help Local Authorities and public health commissioning teams understand and inform their spending. Different tools are useful for different purposes and it’s important to know which one to use to get the most out of them.

For example, the SPOT (Spend and Outcome Tool) provides a broad overview of spend against a selection of relevant outcomes, allowing local authorities to make comparisons across some public health interventions.

Whilst is if often used by Health and Wellbeing boards and councillors, providing a high-level overview of spend and outcomes, it does not estimate value for money or return on investment.

The alcohol and drugs Value for Money tools bring together a range of tools to support local authorities, specifically alcohol and drugs commissioners, to explore ways in which the existing substance misuse budget can be spent to maximise cost-effectiveness.

Alcohol and Drugs Commissioning Tool

Developed by our Drugs and Tobacco team, this tool supports areas in understanding and improving cost-effectiveness. The Cost Calculator helps commissioners estimate local spend and unit costs, while the cost-effectiveness section helps answer a variety of questions on treatment interventions and the use of existing resources.

The Tool compares spend on the treatment system with outcomes of different types of treatments accessed by opiate users, non-opiate users and alcohol only (i.e. leaving treatment free of substance(s) of dependency).

Read the full blog post here

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