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Local authorities given extra £421m for drug and alcohol treatment

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Local authorities given extra £421m for drug and alcohol treatment

The government has today said it will give local authorities in England an extra £421 million over the next two years to improve drug and alcohol treatment and recovery services.

The Department of Health and Social Care said the funds will create more than 50,000 “high-quality places in drug and alcohol treatment,” allowing authorities to take on more staff to work with people struggling with drug and alcohol problems, support more people leaving prison to take up treatment, improve the quality of treatment and help people end addictions that cause them to commit crime.

“More people will benefit from residential rehabilitation or inpatient detoxification, while improvements to the recovery services will sustain them outside of treatment, helping to reduce relapse rates,” the DHSC said.

The government will inject £154.3 million during 2023 and 2024 and around £266.7 million from 2024 to 2025. In all, 151 authorities will receive the extra money.

The government said the funds, which it insisted “builds on the additional £95.4 million made available from 2022 to 2023” as well as its pledge of £53 million to improve housing support for recovering drug and alcohol addicts, will go towards “a wide range of substances” such as prescription drugs, cannabis, powder cocaine and ecstasy.

The government also said the money “will support the work of local authorities and their partners to improve their services in line with the ambitions set out” in its 10-year strategy published just over a year ago to reduce crime and save lives by cutting the supply and demand for drugs.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society published a series of recommendations in June 2021 calling on pharmacies in the UK to be better supported to reduce harm and prevent drug-related deaths, including ensuring every pharmacy has access to Naloxone and staff are trained to use it.

The health minister Neil O’Brien, whose portfolio includes community pharmacy, said: “Addictions drive about half of all theft, burglary and robbery, so boosting treatment for addicts will help cut crime. This funding will help improve the quality and capacity of drug and alcohol recovery services right across the country, helping more people access the support they need, saving lives and benefiting communities.”

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