Addicts to be spared jail in bid to break 'poisonous' cycle of misuse under Government initiative

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Addicts will be spared punitive sentences in return for agreeing to treatment for their habit under an expansion of a Government initiative to crackdown on drug misuse.

The ADDER strategy is to be expanded to eight local authorities in five cities with an extra £31 million invested in treatment and recovery services.

The scheme combines a police crackdown on gangs supplying the drugs with an attempt to treat addicts involved in petty crime to prevent them being caught in a downward cycle.

Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, said: “Drugs destroy lives, ruin families, and tear apart communities and I will do everything in my power to stop this poisonous cycle.

“We will not let criminal gangs continue to cash in on vulnerable people, which is why we are setting up new targeted projects in eight areas in England to disrupt drug supply and support those in need with treatment and recovery.

“With drug misuse costing society £19.3 billion a year, and deaths rising, the need to address this has never been more urgent.”

Project ADDER sites will be set up in two London boroughs (Hackney and Tower Hamlets), three local authorities in Liverpool City Region (Liverpool City, Wirral, Knowsley), Bristol, Newcastle and Wakefield.

Police will also be given more support to expand drug testing on arrest for a wider range of offences where the use of certain Class A drugs are suspected of being a contributing factor.

This will enable public services to better target people with the treatment they need to quit.

The programme was initially tried in five areas with the highest rates of drug misuse in England and Wales: Blackpool, Hastings, Middlesbrough, Norwich and Swansea Bay.

However, the government’s report on race and ethnic disparities found that the project was disproportionately helping white British adults and urged ministers to target more support to addicts in city centres, where there is a larger ethnic minority population.

Dame Carol Black has also been appointed as an independent adviser to the Government on the development and delivery of a new Drug Strategy. It follows her review for the Government of drug misuse and treatment services.

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