Government Announce the Largest Ever Increase in Drug Treatment Spending

The Government has begun allocating funds as part of the largest ever increase in drug treatment spending, with almost £780 million going towards treatment centres and other agencies.

Drug addiction is a complex issue, and each person suffering from it has specific circumstances and needs. Many people take the important first steps, only to have their treatment and recovery derailed by external factors. That’s why this funding is so important. Expanding services will enable addiction services to reach more people and catch those who fall through the cracks.

The government initiative also takes aim at drug-related offences which it says disproportionately affect the poorest and most vulnerable communities. Drug abuse and addiction can have serious impacts on individuals as well as communities. With this funding, addiction services will be able to expand their reach and help more people.

The Funding – a Background

First announced in December 2021, the funding goes to local authorities across England. It’s used to improve access to treatment for those suffering from substance abuse. Existing addiction services will also benefit from a proposed capacity increase.

The record investment comes near to £780m and is part of a three-year plan to invest over £3b to tackle addiction and drug-related crime. The initial round of funding went to the fifty authorities deemed to have the greatest need.

The government based this need on many factors, such as:

  • the rate of drug deaths
  • deprivation
  • opiate and crack cocaine prevalence
  • level of crime within those areas

As well as this initial investment in 2021, there have been extra drug and alcohol treatment funding allocations for 2022. This includes funding as part of Project ADDER.

What is Project ADDER?

Project ADDER (Addiction, Diversion, Disruption, Enforcement and Recovery) is a pathfinder project which aims to improve access to treatment for drug abuse and dependency. It also uses the criminal justice system to divert people away from drug-related offences.

This also includes enhancing recovery provision, such as housing and employment support while working in partnership with hospitals, treatment providers, and prisons.

The four long-term aims of Project ADDER are:

  • to reduce drug-related death
  • to reduce drug-related offending
  • to reduce the prevalence of drug use
  • sustained and major disruption of high-harm criminals and networks involved in middle market drug/firearms supply and importation

Some of the first locations for the project were along the south coast and Wales, with Hastings, Bristol, and Swansea all being targeted in the first half of 2021.

Who Will Benefit from the New Round of Funding?

As part of the new injection of £780m, there will be a massive expansion of the number of local authorities to receive funding. This will go towards inpatient detoxification treatments as well as Project ADDER.

Amongst the new recipients is Dorset, which will receive over a million pounds in funding altogether as a result of this new initiative to help tackle drug addiction.

Dorset county council will receive £434,232 to help establish and expand their drug strategy, and will also receive a further £55,632 for inpatient detox programmes.

Further funding will go to the council of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, which receives £572,325 for Project ADDER and £76,246 for detox provision.

Across England and Wales, the single council that will receive the greatest allocation is Birmingham, which is an enhanced funding area for 2022-2023. Birmingham will receive £3,018,937 for Project ADDER and £285,216 for inpatient detox.

The Basis for the New Funding

The government’s drug strategy was shaped largely by an independent review into drugs, commissioned by the Home Office and led by Dame Carol Black. The review was conducted in two parts. The first part looked at the supply and demand related to illicit drugs in the UK, as well as how they help fuel violent crime. The second part of the review looked into drug treatment, recovery, and prevention.

“Enormous human tragedy surrounds the lives of people dependent on drugs. This investment will transform substance misuse services, providing people with high-quality treatment and support for recovery,” said Dame Carol Black.

“Therefore, I am delighted that the government is making this very significant investment in drug treatment and recovery services, alongside the funding allocated to tackle drug supply. The investment to improve housing support and employment opportunities is just as critical because people need hope, purpose and practical steps to help them achieve a better future.” she continued.

Funding for the Criminal Justice System

According to the Home Office, almost half of all burglaries and robberies are committed by people addicted to heroin and cocaine. The total cost incurred by the taxpayer due to illicit drugs is estimated to be around £20 billion per year.

The government’s new drug strategy will also look at reforming the criminal justice system. A pilot scheme will look at ensuring repeat offenders with a history of substance abuse regularly deal with the same judge. This judge will have the power to impose mandatory drug testing. Failure to pass mandatory drug testing could result in time in prison. As it stands, only offenders who chose to take part in treatment programmes can be tested regularly.

Another scheme to be expanded by the additional funding is the role of the Health and Justice Partnership Co-ordinator (HJPC). An HJPC liaises between prisons, probation officers, and treatment providers to ensure treatment plans stay constant throughout a person’s criminal sentence and beyond.

Future investments include £300m to go towards disrupting the supply chain of illicit drugs and tackling the gangs that transport them. Moving forward from these wide-ranging schemes to reduce drug abuse and its societal impact, Dame Black’s independent review also targets “recreational” drug use and seeks to change the attitudes of those who are more accepting and permissive of it.

James Morkel

Tech website author with a passion for all things technology. Expert in various tech domains, including software, gadgets, artificial intelligence, and emerging technologies. Dedicated to simplifying complex topics and providing informative and engaging content to readers. Stay updated with the latest tech trends and industry news through their insightful articles.

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