DDN February 2021 DDN February 2021 | Page 4


Steven Cornfield / unsplash . com

Cash boost for services north and south of the border

Substantial cash

injections have been announced for drug services in both Scotland and England . The Scottish Government has pledged £ 250m to tackling its record rates of drug-related deaths , with £ 50m to be allocated annually over the next five years . Meanwhile £ 80m will be invested in drug treatment across England as part of a larger overall package of £ 148m to cut drugrelated crime .
A ‘ national mission ’ was needed to address drug deaths in Scotland to end ‘ what is currently a national disgrace ’, said first minister Nicola Sturgeon , adding that £ 5m had already been allocated for the remainder of this financial year . The funding will be spread between drug and alcohol partnerships , third sector and grass roots bodies to ‘ improve work in communities ’ and ‘ substantially increase ’ the number of residential rehab beds .
Money will also be used to widen naloxone distribution and help tackle stigma , with the aim of increasing the numbers of people in treatment . The government said it would also be ‘ reassessing how overdose prevention facilities might be established ’ despite legal barriers from Westminster . ‘ Anyone who
PEOPLE WORKING in communitybased addiction services will be given high priority in the current rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations to healthcare staff , NHS England ends up losing their life as a result of drug addiction is not just failed at the time of their death – in most cases , they will have been failed repeatedly throughout their whole life ,’ said Sturgeon . ‘ It is a reasonable criticism to say that this government should have done more earlier , and I accept that . But I am determined that we will provide this national mission with the leadership , focus , and resources that it needs .’
The announcement was a ‘ clear statement that the Scottish Government is serious about reducing drug-related deaths ,’ said We Are With You ’ s director in Scotland , Andrew Horne . ‘ This level of investment will make a huge impact and help more people access the support and treatment they need . The fact that this funding is stretched over the next five years shows that there is a long-term vision in place .’
The £ 80m for England , meanwhile , will partly be used to increase the number of treatment places for people leaving prison as well as offenders diverted into community sentences , and forms part of an ‘ overall system-wide approach ’ to cut drug-related crime by providing extra resources to law enforcement to tackle supply combined with ‘ the largest increase
has confirmed . A letter to the chief executives of all NHS trusts , foundation trusts and other organisations sets out operational guidance for the ‘ immediate requirement ’ to vaccinate frontline health staff , and ensure ‘ maximum uptake ’ of vaccinations . NHS trusts are being established as ‘ hospital hubs ’ with a responsibility for vaccine delivery to everyone in priority risk group 2b – frontline
We hope this is ‘ the start of a longer-term commitment to increased funding ’.
in drug treatment funding for 15 years ’. However , while money will go towards funding naloxone provision for ‘ every heroin user in the country that needs it ’ as well as ‘ ending the postcode lottery ’ for inpatient treatment , the £ 80m represents just half of the £ 160m estimated

Substance staff prioritised for vaccine

health and social care workers . However , the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation ( JCVI ) recommends that , within this group , priority should be given to those ‘ at high risk of acquiring infection , at high individual risk of developing serious disease , or at risk of transmitting infection to multiple vulnerable persons or other staff in a healthcare environment ’. This includes those working in ‘ independent , voluntary and nonstandard healthcare settings such as hospices , and community-based mental health or addiction services ’. reduction in treatment funding since 2013 .
As well as helping offenders to access treatment on release , the funding package will also enhance the RECONNECT service to support people with complex needs to engage with mental health , substance and other services for up to a year after leaving prison . A further £ 28m will go towards Project ADDER ( Addiction , Diversion , Disruption , Enforcement and Recovery ), a pilot programme combining ‘ enhanced ’ treatment and recovery services with ‘ targeted and tougher ’ policing which is scheduled to run for three years in five areas with significant drug problems – Blackpool , Hastings , Middlesbrough , Norwich and Swansea Bay . Another £ 40m will go towards tackling county lines gangs , bringing the total invested in this since late 2019 to £ 65m .
While the announcement was welcome it was hoped it would be ‘ the start of a longerterm commitment to increased funding ’, said executive director at Change Grow Live Nic Adamson . ‘ Fundamentally , we need a shift in perspective so that substance misuse and addiction are primarily addressed as health issues , not as criminal justice issues .’
‘ Immediate requirement ’ to vaccinate frontline health staff , and ensure ‘ maximum uptake ’ of vaccinations .