DDN May 2022 May 2022 - Page 4

NEWS ROUND-UP

Fifty areas to get enhanced treatment funding

Fifty of England ’ s most deprived areas are to receive ‘ significantly more ’ funding in 2022- 23 to bolster their drug and alcohol treatment services , says the Department of Health and Social Care ( DHSC ). While all local authorities will receive additional funding as part of the government ’ s three-year £ 780m investment in treatment announced late last year ( www . drinkanddrugsnews . com / government-announceslargest-ever-increase-in-treatmentfunding ), those areas ‘ most affected by drug-related crime and addiction ’ – including Birmingham , County Durham and Leeds – will receive additional funding totalling £ 300m over the three-year period .

The money will help to improve access to treatment and increase the capacity of services , said health secretary Sajid Javid . ‘ This is a significant step in our commitment to rebuild the drug treatment system , save lives and
level up the country .’
‘ It is encouraging that on top of the additional funding for all local authorities , the 50 authorities most in need will be given further money to support their treatment programmes ,’ added Dame Carol Black . ‘ This is crucial to rebuilding the treatment and recovery workforce and enable harm caused by drug misuse in our most deprived areas to be reduced .’
The government has also announced plans to enhance its Project ADDER scheme through ‘ more intensive oversight ’ by the criminal justice system . A support package will be provided to all opiate and crack users in ADDER areas , it says , while people who commit ‘ neighbourhood crimes ’ like burglary , robbery or theft will be subject to ‘ joint probation and police supervision ’, with more frequent contact from
the authorities and improved information sharing between agencies . The plans will also see greater use of community sentences with drug rehabilitation requirements , drug testing and ‘ stronger electronic monitoring options ’, the government states .
The initial local authorities assessed as being ‘ most affected by drug-related crime and addiction ’ include areas in County Durham , Leeds , Birmingham and Devon . Pictured : Foodbank sign in Leeds , March 2022 , by riddypix / Alamy

Extent of drink spiking unknown , says committee

‘ Lax ’ drug driving laws

LACK OF AVAILABLE DATA means that the ‘ true extent ’ of drink spiking in nightclubs and bars remains unknown , says a report from the Home Affairs Committee . The report calls for a focused approach to make sure suspected incidents are better investigated and to build up a knowledge base .
Spiking incidents can include putting drugs such as GHB or prescription medications into someone ’ s drink , or adding more alcohol . Spiking is likely to remain an ‘ invisible crime ’ unless more is done to improve awareness and support victims , the document says , with issues around data collection a significant barrier to policing .
The government is currently considering the creation of a new spiking criminal offence , and the committee also wants to see police forces carry out forensic testing more quickly and ‘ to a quality that can be used in court ’. ‘ There needs to be a concerted effort to stamp out spiking ,’ said committee chair Dame Diana Johnson . ‘ Much more work needs to be done to improve understanding and awareness so that people are reassured that the help will be there should they need it .’
Report at https :// committees . parliament . uk /
Spiking is likely to remain an ‘ invisible crime ’ unless more is done to improve awareness and support victims , the document says , with issues around data collection a significant barrier to policing .
THE DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT ( DfT ) has launched a call for evidence on whether people convicted of drug-driving should be required to undertake rehabilitation courses before being allowed to drive again . While deaths and injuries related to drink driving are now ‘ very rare ’ in the UK , says DfT , more than 700 people were seriously injured in drug-driving collisions in 2020 , up from under 500 in 2016 .
‘ Drink-driving is now rightly seen as a social taboo by most of us in this country and we have worked hard to drive down drink-drive related deaths ,’ said transport secretary Grant Shapps . ‘ But if we are to make our roads safer still there is no room to be lax on drug-driving , which is why I have launched this call for evidence today . It ’ s only right that drug-drivers must undergo rehabilitation before getting back behind the wheel , helping protect the public from this hidden problem and stamping out drug-driving for good .’
Protecting the public from repeat drug-driving offenders : call for evidence at www . gov . uk until 28 June
4 • DRINK AND DRUGS NEWS • MAY 2022 WWW . DRINKANDDRUGSNEWS . COM