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Local authorities in England receive £267m boost for drug and alcohol treatment

At the end of 2021, the UK government announced its ‘From Harm to Hope’ initiative, a 10-year plan to cut alcohol and drug misuse-related crime and provide high-quality treatment and recovery programmes. Aiming to get as many people as possible treated, the government set out to increase the number of treatment facilities and the intensity of recovery services.


As part of this drive, local authorities in England will benefit from an additional £267m in funding in 2024 to improve drug and alcohol treatment and associated facilities. These funds are on top of the £95.4m already made available over the 2022/2023 period and the £154.3m for 2023 alone. So far, an additional investment of £421m has gone into drug and alcohol treatment drives since April 2022.


Relationship between drug or alcohol misuse and crime


The Association of Police and Crime Commissioners estimates that half of all homicides and acquisitive crimes can be traced back to drug-related problems. Both alcohol and drug misuse contribute to anti-social behaviours and domestic and public crimes.


These include anything from theft and armed robberies to domestic abuse and trafficking. Research indicates that many of these crimes are symptoms of drug or alcohol abuse. This means that the addiction is the root cause and treating it will naturally reduce the associated crimes.


How the additional funds help local authorities


The government will roll out the additional £267m in April 2024. These funds will enable local authorities to improve the treatment of those with alcohol and drug misuse issues on multiple levels.


Recruiting specialised staff


Local authorities can recruit experts to treat people with drug and alcohol misuse problems. Equipped with the required knowledge and skills, these trained specialists can:


  • Know how and when to administer drug and alcohol tests at the start of and during treatment.
  • Identify relapse trends.
  • Handle individuals and groups.
  • Diffuse difficult situations.


Support prison leavers


In prison, authorities can administer drug and alcohol treatment in a controlled environment. Here, administering treatment, performing drug and alcohol testing, and observing and monitoring patients are less complicated compared to environments where people come and go as they like.


The additional UK government funds will help authorities establish programmes specifically for treating those released from prison. It will also provide them with the backing to integrate these individuals into existing regional treatment schemes.


Reduce crime


As stated, by tackling the root causes of alcohol and drug misuse, authorities indirectly reduce connected criminal activities. Consequently, by helping someone get over their addiction, they start to stamp out the impulsive and planned crimes that feed this addiction. It also helps to remove the motivation that drives trafficking and supply chains.


On all these levels, drug and alcohol testing forms the basis for success. Whether it is a workplace drug testing programme or spot checks with a rapid-result, five-minute solution, a simple test informs treatment and adjustments at all tiers of any drug and alcohol intervention initiative.

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