The Government has awarded local authorities £421m to help tackle drug and alcohol abuse, funding projects including nurse led outreach programmes and recruitment.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) announced (16 February) that local authorities will receive funding through to 2025 to reduce drug and alcohol use through improved treatment and recovery.
This will enable local authorities to recruit more staff to work with those struggling with substance abuse. and bring prison leavers into treatment recovery services.
Across England, 151 local authorities are being allocated funding to increase the quality and capacity of drug and alcohol treatment and recovery services. The funding includes £154.3 million for 2023/2024, and indicative funding of £266.7 million for 2024/2025.
Steve Barclay, health and social care secretary, said: ‘This investment in treatment and recovery services is crucial to provide people with high-quality support, with services such expanding access to life-saving overdose medicines and outreach to young people at risk of drug misuse already helping to reduce harm and improve recovery.’
Additionally, Lambeth will also develop a nurse-led outreach prescribing service for residents in the Vulnerable Adults Pathway, which supports homeless and vulnerable individuals in their recovery.
A Lambeth Council spokesperson said; ‘The motivation behind the model of nurse led prescribing is to have a service that meets vulnerable adults in their neighbourhoods, rather than requiring them to come to the service in Brixton – so taking the service and support to the adults rather than asking the adults to come to the support.
‘This benefits the clients, enabling more vulnerable adults to access treatment outside of the standard pathways, whilst easing pressure on the frontline service in Brixton. Lambeth has recruited four nurses to achieve this.’
This funding is prioritised for areas with the highest need, based on the rates of drug deaths, deprivation, opiate and crack cocaine prevalence, and crime rates.
While local authorities will have choice over where funding is invested, the Government has stipulated that it should be invested in activity that will increase the capacity and quality of treatment and recovery services, based on the recommendations in Dame Carol Black’s Independent Review of Drugs.
The review, published in 2021, highlighted the importance of significant investment in the treatment and recovery workforce, including nurses as well as other professionally trained staff, in order to tackle drug and alcohol abuse.
The report found that ‘the drug treatment and recovery workforce has deteriorated significantly in quantity, quality and morale in recent years, due to excessive caseloads, decreased training and lack of clinical supervision’, and recommended the creation of a comprehensive strategy to tackle this issue.
Commenting on the latest Government funding, Dame Carol said: ‘this continued investment is very welcome and will be crucial in supporting local authorities and their partners to increase the capacity and quality of their services for people with drug and alcohol dependence, in line with the key recommendations of my independent review of drugs.
‘This will help realise the ambitions of the government’s 10-year drug strategy, to deliver a world-class treatment and recovery system, reduce drug use and drug related crime, and save lives.’