London will get its first dedicated detox unit for homeless people next week in a bid to “plug a known gap in treatment facilities” for addiction and offer people a path off the streets for good.
The Addiction Clinical Care Suite will open its doors on June 14 at St Thomas’ Hospital in Lambeth, South London, to help people beat serious alcohol and substance dependence. The pan-London partnership behind the centre will also offer initiatives to improve healthy eating, stop smoking and help mental wellbeing.
The new unit is a vital step towards improving health for people without a stable home. ONS figures found the average age of death for homeless people in England and Wales was 46 years for men and 43 for women while almost two in five deaths in 2019 were related to drug poisoning.
“The window for helping those with addictions can often be incredibly small and ensuring immediate access to appropriate detoxification and treatment can be life changing,” said London Mayor Sadiq Khan. “The health issues experienced by people who are homeless are often complex and entrenched, there are no quick fixes.
“Therefore, it is vital we continue to invest in addiction support and substance misuse therapies to address these life-threatening health inequalities.”
The project is bringing a joined-up approach to tackling addiction among rough sleepers in London, a development which experts have said is crucial to addressing the problem.