New money to help provide treatment to support people with drug use issues has been welcome by leading homelessness charity St Mungo’s.
Today (20 January) the Government has announced that it is allocating £80m for drug treatment as part of a wider crime reduction package.
The money – which is for one year – will be available in all areas of England and will be allocated via a formula devised by the Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England with the aim of ensuring help is provided to the most deprived areas.
The announcement comes ahead of the publication of the second part of Dame Carol Black’s report as part of her Independent Review of Drugs which will reinforce the need for increased longer-term investment and better local partnership working.
Reacting to the news St Mungo’s Executive Director of Strategy and Policy Dominic Williamson, who is a member of Dame Black’s expert panel, said: “Today’s announcement is welcome and another step towards the longer-term cross Government working we need.
“St Mungo’s highlighted in our submission to the Black Review that people’s problems are complex and interwoven. Any successful approach from Government needs to reflect the fact that drug policy must be approach holistically.
“To best support our clients experiencing drug and alcohol problems, integrated support and housing pathways are needed with a treatment package arranged for clients in a way which works for them at that point in their recovery journey. To design a whole person approach requires getting people into the right accommodation, with the right support, at the right time.
“One of the best ways to do this is through increasing joint commissioning, and we support Dame Black’s call for multi-year funding.” said Mr Williamson.
The Government says the new £80m funding will allow local drug treatment commissioners and services to:
- Offer more treatment places (including in residential services), particularly to improve pathways from the criminal justice system
- Provide more intensive treatment and recovery programmes in areas of high need
- Expand provision of inpatient detoxification, and
- Expand needle and syringe programme and provide more naloxone to reduce blood-borne viruses and prevent overdose deaths.
Mr Williamson continued: “Our Knocked Back research showed that treatment programmes are effective, but increasingly hard to access so today’s pledge to increase availability is welcome.
“In a survey of drug and alcohol treatment conducted as part of the Knocked Back research, Naloxone to treat overdoses was one of the most common harm reduction interventions administered by outreach workers so we support a further roll out of it. We know it has and will save lives.”