ECONOMY

Government to set up new unit to tackle drug misuse in society

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new drugs unit will be set up to help end illegal drug-related illness and deaths, the Government has announced.

The Joint Combating Drugs Unit will combine multiple Government departments, including the Department of Health and Social Care, Home Office, Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government, Department for Work and Pensions, Department for Education and Ministry of Justice to help tackle drug misuse across society.

It comes as the second part of Dame Carol Black’s Independent Review of Drugs is released.

Her findings set out more than 30 recommendations to Government to help overcome the harm drugs have caused to individuals, families and communities across the country.

Invest in tackling the problem or keep paying for the consequences

Dame Carol’s report calls for significant investment in the drug treatment and recovery system so that more people can get the support they need.

The recommendations made in the report include investing more than £550 million in extra funding for drug treatment in the community, and the appointment of a minister on drug policy to hold the Government to account on its efforts.

It also recommends drug addiction be recognised as a chronic health condition which requires long-term follow-up.

Dame Carol said the Government faces an “unavoidable choice” when it comes to illegal drug use in society.

She said: “Invest in tackling the problem or keep paying for the consequences. A whole-system approach is needed and this part of my review offers concrete proposals, deliverable within this Parliament, to achieve this.”

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Health Secretary Sajid Javid welcomed the review’s findings.

He said: “When I first commissioned Dame Carol to do this review as Home Secretary, we knew the sale and use of drugs drives serious violence and homelessness but this review shows that the health implications are just as devastating.

“Tackling this issue requires strong collaboration across Government and the new specialist Joint Combating Drugs Unit will help us to do just that.

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