Change Grow Live today backed the Public Accounts Committee’s recommendations for a long-term, joined up approach from Government to reducing the harms from illegal drugs and achieving the aims of the national Drug Strategy.
The Committee’s report recognises the progress that has been made in the past two years, including the recruitment of 1,200 additional treatment and recovery workers, the creation of 106 new partnerships, and the ongoing work of shutting down county lines.
However, the report highlights the uncertainty around future funding commitments and the impact of delays to funding allocation which are hindering local authorities’ efforts to rebuild capacity and meet the needs of specific groups, including young people.
The Committee echoes calls from Change Grow Live and local authorities for sustained, long-term funding which is critical to delivering the Drug Strategy’s stated aims of cutting crime, reducing harm, and saving lives.
Nic Adamson, Change Grow Lives Deputy Chief Executive, said:
“The Public Accounts Committee report into the national drug strategy recognises the progress we’re making on the ground, but it rightly highlights the fact that a more joined up approach across Government is needed to achieve the whole system change called for by Dame Carol Black.
“The report highlights that, between 2014 and 2022, funding for drug and alcohol treatment services fell by 40%. Given the tragic levels of drug related deaths in our communities, changing trends in drug use amongst young people, and the increasing use of synthetic opioids, long-term funding must be put in place so local authorities and treatment providers can deliver the breadth and quality of treatment and recovery services that our communities need and deserve.
“We can only tackle the harms from drugs with a multi-agency approach, and it’s going to take time - facts that are recognised in the Government’s own 10 year drug strategy. But long-term planning only works if we know we have the funding, and without sustained investment we risk undermining the early, encouraging progress that has been made.
“The report also calls for a deeper understanding of the barriers that people face in accessing drug treatment and support services and how characteristics such as age, gender and ethnicity may play a role. We welcome any opportunity to contribute to this work and will work with partners across the sector to help Government develop the evidence base that the Committee calls for.”