Extra funding for education on drugs and to target abuse


Millions of pounds will be spent curing addicts in a new drive to tackle the problem of drug abuse, the British government announced yesterday.

Extra funds will be provided for treatment and testing services both within prisons and in the community. The government said too much money had been spent in the past on picking up the pieces of addiction, rather than tackling the root cause of the problem. Under spending plans announced yesterday, £133 million will be spent fighting drugs misuse in prisons.

Health and local authorities will receive an extra £70.5 million to provide services for misusers, targeting youngsters as well as women and ethnic minorities. A further £3 million will be added to the money spent on drugs education and prevention programmes in schools and the community.

The cabinet "enforcer", Mr Jack Cunningham, said the funding represented a major shift in the government's approach. He said: "Drugs destroy lives and ravage communities. They are an active breeding ground for motivating crime and can pull families and communities apart."

Targets will be set by the drugs tsar, Mr Keith Hellawell, to measure the success - and cost-effectiveness - of the new strategy.

He said critical markers of success would be a drop in drug-related crime, fewer young people experimenting with drugs and a fall in the number of addicts over the next 10 years.