Almost £267m of funding to improve drug and alcohol treatment and recovery services will be rolled out to local authorities next April, the government has announced.
The money is part of the ten-year strategy to improve the quality of – and access to – treatment, and follows the £95m made available in 2022-23 and £154m this year. Funding is prioritised for the areas with the highest need, the government states, based on drug death rates, opiate and crack prevalence, the size of the treatment population, and crime and deprivation levels.
A report by the National Audit Office (NAO) last month, however, found that while government departments had made some progress towards meeting the objectives of the drug strategy, delays in distributing funding and implementing new projects – as well as lack of funding certainty post-2025, gaps in the evidence base and a lack of focus on prevention – were among the significant challenges still remaining (https://www.drinkanddrugsnews.com/significant-challenges-to-meeting-governments-drug-strategy-ambitions-warns-national-audit-office/).
‘A key aim of my report was to make sure vulnerable people with substance misuse problems can access the support and tools needed to recover and lead full lives,’ said independent adviser to the government, Professor Dame Carol Black. ‘Today’s allocations of almost £267m will go directly to local authorities and their partners, meaning they can deliver treatment that is tailored to meet local needs. The end goal is to get many people into world-class recovery and treatment system, reduce drug use and drug related crime – and ultimately save lives.’
Meanwhile, Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE) has issued a warning about nitazene-type substances in Dublin’s heroin supply. More than 50 overdoses have been reported in the city since late last week.
‘We are urging extreme caution following a sharp rise in the number of overdoses related to a powder being sold as heroin in the Dublin region,’ said HSE’s national clinical lead for addiction services, Professor Eamon Keenan. ‘Preliminary laboratory analysis has confirmed that recent overdoses may be caused by heroin mixed with nitazene, a potent and dangerous synthetic opioid. These pose a substantial risk of overdose, hospitalisation and death.’