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Hope House triples to cope with demand

September 27 2009
Rocketing numbers of women wanting detox for alcohol addiction A London treatment centre for women suffering from alcohol and drug abuse has tripled in size to cope with a rising number of cases. Hope House - the only one of its kind in London - has moved from an eight bedroom centre in Maida Vale, West London to a 23-bedroom building in Clapham Common, South London, a building previously used by male addicts. The centre's users - many of whom have been homeless - stay there for 12 to 24 weeks. Most have already been through detox and are given help to cope with life after the first stages of rehab. The number of women seeking help for drink or drug addiction has reached an all-time high and for the first time, is virtually on a par with men. The problem is expected to get worse as binge-drinking teenage girls develop addictions. Amanda Williams, director of the charity Action on Addiction, said the percentage of women to men being treated in its main centre, Clouds House in Wiltshire, had risen from 29 to 47 in five years. "We have had to turn women away because we were not big enough," she said. "You can't fail to see the statistics binge-drinking has increased among British women more than any other European country in the last decade. "Professional women are more likely to drink regularly, and that lifestyle can lead to problem drinking. Some professional women get addicted because of this lifestyle, while someone else could be drinking because they are single mums. We are expanding Hope House because we are aware of these needs." Williams added: "Women do a lot better when they are with other women. They can explore issues such as abuse, eating disorders and the guilt they feel because their children are not with them." Established 20 years ago, Hope House treats NHS and private patients. The renovation cost £300,000, with money donated by an anonymous family charitable trust. Research shows that British teenage girls are now out-drinking boys. The European School Survey Project on Alcohol and other Drugs, of 15- and 16-year-olds in 35 countries, found that 55 per cent of girls admitted binge-drinking, compared with 52 per cent of boys.
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