More drug users are getting treatment but the standard of it is still highly variable, a Healthcare Commission report has concluded.

More drug users are getting treatment but the standard of it is still highly variable, a Healthcare Commission report has concluded.

The second of the commission's new improvement reviews, conducted with the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse, says the number of people entering treatment doubled between 1998-99 and 2004-05 from 85,000 to 160,000 as a result of extra investment. Average waiting times fell from 9.1 to 2.4 weeks between December 2001 and September 2005.

But the review found there are still variations in standards across England, with 71 per cent of its 149 drug action teams rated 'fair', 23 per cent 'good', 5 per cent 'excellent' and 1 per cent 'weak'.

It also found significant weaknesses in commissioning of drug treatments, user involvement and providing care plans.

The two teams rated weak overall were Dorset and Wiltshire.