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Home secretary Priti Patel and health secretary Matt Hancock on Wednesday (Jan 20) have jointly announced a £148m new investment to protect people from the scourge of illegal drugs.

The latest £148m package takes a system-wide approach to the problem of illegal drugs. It gives extra resources to law enforcement to dismantle organised criminal gangs and tackle the supply of drugs.

“At the same time, it delivers more money for drug treatment and recovery to help cut drug-related crime and the cycle of misuse and reoffending. It represents the largest increase in drug treatment funding for 15 years,” the government said, in a statement on Wednesday.

The £40m of new money to tackle county lines and drugs supply brings the total invested to £65m since November 2019.

A further £28m will be invested into piloting Project ADDER – which stands for Addiction, Diversion, Disruption, Enforcement, and Recovery – will be a new intensive approach to tackle drug misuse, which combines targeted and tougher policing with enhanced treatment and recovery services.

An extra £80m will also be invested in drug treatment services right across England to give more support to offenders with drink and drug addictions, which can fuel crime.

As part of this package, £2.5m will also be invested in providing continuity of care for prisoners on release to avoid this becoming a crisis point.

The funding will also support offenders into treatment upon release from prison and fund additional detox beds and the life-saving overdose medicine, naloxone. By saving lives and providing treatment former offenders have the chance and support to break the cycle of crime and addiction.

The increase in drug treatment funding will help us provide lifesaving overdose medicine to every heroin user in the country that needs it and will help end the postcode lottery for inpatient treatment so that people from across the country can come off drugs safely.

Prime minister Boris Johnson said: “…It is clear that drugs are a serious driver of the violence which devastates communities and robs young lives. That is why we must take action to cut off supply and cut the head off the snake by tackling the criminal gangs which exploit young people…”

Health secretary Hancock said: “Addiction and crime are inextricably linked and to truly break the cycle we must make sure people can access the help they need to get their lives back on track for good.

“This is the largest increase to drug treatment funding in 15 years and underlines our absolute commitment to reduce drug-related deaths, offending and use.”

Home secretary Patel said: “…Today’s announcement will provide the largest investment in drugs treatment and support in 15 years, while also giving more resources to law enforcement so they can continue dismantling organised criminal gangs and tackling the supply of drugs.”

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