Cuts to government spending have sparked fears recovering drug addicts in Waltham Forest may lose access to rehabilitation programmes.

A report published by Waltham Forest council this week stated people with substance abuse issues in the borough could lose access to some treatments due to budget constraints.

Cuts are set to affect the Lifeline project, a council-funded scheme which provides treatment, clinical support and information for addicts. 

The report stated: “The recent imposition of cuts to the public health grant will mean less availability of some of the treatment and recovery activities currently delivered by Lifeline, who are working with commissioners to understand the impact. 

“To achieve both savings and quality outcomes will require consistent leadership and dialogue across all partners and our community.”

More than 1,200 people were assessed and handed interventions by Lifeline Waltham Forest between August 2015 and July this year.

Almost half of those dealt with by Lifeline were suffering from dependency issues surrounding heroin, while one in five were experiencing alcohol addiction.

An NHS study in 2012 estimated around 1,100 people in Waltham Forest are habitual users of either heroin or crack cocaine. 

Around 15,000 locals aged 16 to 59 are estimated to use illegal substances in some form. 

A Council spokesperson said: “Following a Government decision to reduce Waltham Forest’s public health funding by £2.5million between 2015/16 and 2019/20, the Council must identify further savings in the years ahead.

“We are currently working with our service providers and reviewing what steps can be taken in order to stay within our budget going forwards, whilst minimising any impact on service users.”

In March, Waltham Forest council claimed it faced similar problems with substance abuse to many inner London boroughs, but only had the funding of an average outer London borough.

Waltham Forest’s current public health budget of £16.8 million is less than half that of neighbouring boroughs including Newham, Hackney and Tower Hamlets.

The figure represents a £1.3 million cut on the previous year’s budget, and is £7.5 million short of the government’s own estimates of the borough’s public health needs.