Local authorities in England will receive £421m for drug and alcohol treatment services through to 2025, the government has announced. More than 150 councils are being allocated funding, which includes £154.3m for 2023-24 and ‘indicative funding’ of £266.7m for 2024-25.
The money will help to enhance the quality of the treatment on offer, support more people leaving prison into treatment and allow the recruitment of more treatment staff, the government states, with more people benefitting from residential rehab and inpatient detox services. The funding is part of the government’s commitment to ‘significantly’ increase treatment capacity as part of its 2021 drug strategy, it says, and estimates that over the first three years of the strategy the additional investment will ‘prevent nearly 1,000 drug-related deaths – reversing the upward trend in drug deaths for the first time in a decade.’
The funding follows the £94.5m made available for 2022-23 and the recent announcement of £53m to improve housing support (www.drinkanddrugsnews.com/government-pledges-housing-support-cash-for-areas-most-in-need). Areas with the highest need have been prioritised, the government says, based on the size of their treatment populations, drug-related death rates, opiate and crack prevalence, and crime and deprivation.
‘This continued investment is very welcome and will be crucial in supporting local authorities and their partners to increase the capacity and quality of their services for people with drug and alcohol dependence, in line with the key recommendations of my independent review of drugs,’ said Professor Dame Carol Black. ‘This will help realise the ambitions of the government’s ten-year drug strategy, to deliver a world-class treatment and recovery system, reduce drug use and drug related crime, and save lives.’
‘Drug misuse has a massive cost to society – more than 3,000 people died as a result of drug misuse in 2021,’ added health and social care secretary Steve Barclay. ‘This investment in treatment and recovery services is crucial to provide people with high-quality support, with services such expanding access to life-saving overdose medicines and outreach to young people at risk of drug misuse already helping to reduce harm and improve recovery. This funding will help us build a much-improved treatment and recovery service which will continue to save lives, improve the health and wellbeing of people across the country, and reduce pressure on the NHS by diverting people from addiction into recovery.’
The announcement has been welcomed by organisations across the sector:
‘Today we have certainty over the funding situation for the next two years which means that, as a sector, we can plan for the future and focus on ensuring that services are accessible to anyone who needs support, building on the progress already made in joint working across mental health, criminal justice and treatment agencies and creating safer communities for us all.’
Clare Taylor, chief operating officer, Turning Point
‘Following the launch of the ten-year drug strategy, investment in services that support people using drugs has already started to make a difference on the ground, with the recruitment of additional frontline and clinical staff, and more people coming into treatment. Today’s announcement provides much-needed stability and certainty for local services and the people who use them.’
Nic Adamson, deputy chief executive, Change Grow Live
‘In 2021 the ten-year drug strategy From harm to hope heralded a significant step change for the treatment and recovery system. We are now over a year on and, despite the challenges of the last 12 months, the strategy is beginning to make a difference. We welcome the government today continuing to unlock new investment to support people facing substance misuse, who are amongst our communities’ most vulnerable and stigmatised members. Now is the time to press on with the transformational, whole-system approach advocated by Dame Carol Black and set in motion by the drug strategy.’
Lea Milligan, chair, Collective Voice.
‘We welcome the confirmation of local authority funding for vital, evidence-based drug and alcohol treatment and recovery services. Dame Carol Black laid out an ambitious vision of how, as a society, we can rebuild our treatment and recovery services to help those most in need. Funding from the ten-year drug strategy, that brought Dame Carol Black’s vision to life, has already supported us to develop our services in areas with the greatest need.’
Paul Townsley, chief executive officer, Humankind
‘We hope that the additional £421m funding allocated to local authorities across England will be utilised to shape a joined-up system that ensures everyone in need has equal access to high-quality care. This cannot be achieved without partnership work across the sector, something that we are committed to doing as an alliance of NHS Trusts, in a continued effort to reduce the rising number of drug-related deaths seen annually and positively change the lives of thousands of people.’
Danny Hames and Kate Hall, chair and vice-chair, NHS Addictions Provider Alliance
Full list of allocations by local authority here