Substance abuse fears as cost of living crisis continues to bite
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
A Suffolk charity has voiced its concerns about a potential rise in substance abuse as the cost of living continues to bite.
Ruth Croft, youth engagement manager at Turning Point's Suffolk branch, said: "It's a concern that we're in a position where people are having to make such difficult decisions.
"When someone is struggling with substance abuse, decision making becomes a real challenge.
"For those dependent on drugs or alcohol, they need to have it or they could become very unwell. Some even rely on it so much that they need it to get out of the house and do their shopping.
"At that point, there isn't even a choice. It becomes about survival."
Turning Point is a health and social service in over 300 locations across the England.
It works closely with people who need support, including those struggling with drug and alcohol use.
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"Financial issues can lead to people feeling very low and isolated," said Mrs Croft.
"This can often result in them using substances or alcohol to feel better."
Mrs Croft also highlighted budgeting as an issue amongst those struggling with addiction.
"Many of our service users may not budget in the same way we might.
"When money is tight, things like food and electricity are going to fall down the list of priorities.
"We're particularly concerned about families with issues of substance abuse. You could end up with people making choices that could put children in more risky situations."
Despite rising concerns, Mrs Croft is keen to point out that there is support available and there are solutions.
"There are services out there that can help, including your local GP," she said.
"Suffolk does have a lot of areas with poor access to services and support, but that's where community is so important.
"We need to be supporting families and teaching people how to cook on a budget.
"We need them to recognise the importance of healthy eating and living so that when these decisions have to be made, they know how to budget properly.
"It's about learning about what's in your community so you cannot only help yourself but others as well.
"There are people out there where having just one person check in on them can make such a difference."