The Government has announced £267m to boost local drug and alcohol treatment, due to hit local authority accounts in April.
It said the extra cash can ‘help reduce crime by increasing the number of people receiving structured drug and alcohol treatment’ and ‘improving the quality of treatment provided, which in turn helps make streets safer by getting people out of drug use addictions which is known to drive offending’.
It could also be used to ‘support more prison leavers into treatment and recovery services’ and ‘recruit more specialised staff to work with people with drug and alcohol problems’, the Government suggested.
It was recently suggested that GPs should take a greater role in treatment of alcohol dependency. This first came from Professor Dame Carol Black, who led an independent review into drugs treatment and recovery on behalf of the Government in 2021.
Commenting on today’s announcement, health minister Neil O’Brien, who will return to the back benches amid today’s Cabinet reshuffle, said: ‘Drug addiction drives about half of all crimes, so by investing in high quality and greater availability of treatment we can reduce crime rates and save lives.
‘We aim to raise the number of people getting drug and alcohol treatment to a record high by investing through the long term investment we’ve been making over the last three years.
‘Today’s allocations will see £267m go directly to local authorities and their partners to improve services, increase capacity and quality of treatment and recovery systems, and is based on the recommendations made by Dame Carol Black in her independent review.’
The Government set out its 10-year strategy for reducing harms from drugs and alcohol in 2021.
Last week, a study suggested pandemic lockdowns had led to increased drinking among the over-50s, highlighting the need for public health measures to protect against dementia risk.