All drug treatment agencies in England must supply information about the people they treat to the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System. This is collated and used to support local delivery of the priorities in the national drug strategy. A detailed annual breakdown is independently verified and published as official statistics.
Business definitions and technical guidance are supplied to drug service managers and published on here.
Every year we count the number of people who successfully complete treatment. This figure is all those judged by their clinician as no longer requiring structured drug treatment and recorded as leaving the system with either of the following treatment discharge codes:
- 'Treatment completed - free of dependency (no drug use)' - a client is has successfully completed their treatment programme free of all illegal drugs.
- 'Treatment completed - free of dependency' - a client has successfully completed their treatment programme and is no longer dependent on any drug. They may be an occasional user of a drug on which they are not dependent e.g. cannabis.
In other words, treatment completed means clients are judged by their clinician to be:
- no longer requiring structured drug treatment.
- free of their drug(s) of dependency
- not using heroin (or any other opiates) or crack cocaine.
"Free of dependency" means clients cannot be on substitute prescribing. Anyone on methadone remains in structured treatment and by definition cannot be classified as treatment completed. The goal of all treatment is for the user to leave free of the drug (or drugs) of dependency and that includes any substitutes they are prescribed.
From our perspective, the overall category of treatment completed is key to judging the contribution of the treatment system towards recovery. This metric is incorporated in the public health outcome indicators used by local authorities after April 2013, and is reflected in the Payment by Results pilots. Meanwhile all drug partnerships are incentivised to maximise the number of successful completions under revised arrangements for distributing the pooled treatment budget that came into force in April 2012.