The government have pledged the largest ever investment into drug treatment. The ten-year Drug Strategy will help to tackle the increasing drug problem within the UK and prevent crime.
The £780 million will be split amongst communities in England to ‘increase capacity of services, help reverse the upward trend in drugs use and level up tackling drug crime.’
The new funding will mean a total of £3 billion will be spent on drug enforcement and treatment over the next three years.
Sajid Javid, Health and Social Care Secretary, said: “This is a huge moment which will not only save lives but help level up the country.
“We’re investing a record amount into treatment services with money to break the cycle of drug use and to support communities by cutting the drug use which drives crime.
“Treatment services are just one part of the comprehensive strategy which includes helping people back to work, into permanent housing, and cracking down on supply.”
Currently, illegal drugs cost the taxpayer around £20 billion a year with almost half of burglaries and robberies being committed by heroin and cocaine addicts.
The strategy also outlines a £300 million investment to tackle supply chains and criminal gangs profiting from the trading of illegal drugs.
The funding will go towards:
- Dismantling over 2,000 county lines - which are used to supply drugs and often involve recruiting children.
- Carrying out 6,400 disruptions against the activities of organised criminals to reduce illegal drug trafficking.
- Investing up to £145 million in the County Lines Programme, bringing line holders to justice, targeting the road and rail networks, and protecting those exploited and supporting them to rebuild their lives.
Kit Malthouse, Combating Drugs Minister, said: “Drugs degrade society – they drive crime, destroy families, and illegal drugs use claims more lives each year than all stabbings and road traffic accidents combined.
“That is why, today, we are setting out our a 10-year plan to help drive drugs out of our cities, towns and villages and make sure those ensnared in the grip of addiction get the help they so badly need.
“This is a record level of investment and will bring our total spending on drug enforcement, treatment and recovery to more than £3 billion over the next three years – but more importantly, it will change the lives of millions of people affected by this poison.”
A new pilot will also be trialled in a new approach to how the courts deal with offender with a history of drug abuse. Offenders will be seen by the same judge who has the power to order sanctions and incentives such as mandatory drug testing. The mew approach aims to increase compliance with treatment to deter offenders from returning to drugs.