Newcastle Spends Over £5 Million A Year On Drug Abuse Programmes

Newcastle City Council’s budget for anti-drug abuse programmes currently stands at over £5 million per year, as the council works to tackle the issue.

By Hannah, Robbie and Laila, Newcastle · May 18, 2020

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According to data from a Freedom of Information report from Newcastle City Council, in 2015/16, £5,487,411 was allocated for specialist drug and alcohol services in the district. In 2019/20, however, only £4,721,020 was set aside.

In 2016/2017, the budget stood at £5,416,147, and the following year, £4,868,069. It reached its lowest point in five years in 2018/19: £4,698,943.

However, the council have explained that “the apparent reduction can be attributed to an element of the service being reallocated to another budget. Essentially, the change in the actual Drug and Alcohol recovery budgets is very minor over the years.”

The spokesperson for Newcastle City Council added: “While the figures show a reduction in funding for drug and alcohol services, this is because of a reallocation of resources. Since 2015/16, costs associated with specialist drug prescriptions, approximately £766,000, have been included in a different budget.

“Therefore, to compare fairly with the 2015/16 overall budget of £5,487,411, the specialist prescription drug funding costs should be added to the 2019/20 figure of £4,707,020. This combined total of £5,473,020 shows there has been no significant reduction over the five-year period.”

The spokesperson described the council’s approach to drugs and alcohol, and its drug and alcohol intervention and recovery support as “one of our long-standing public health priorities,” adding, “We oversee a range of delivery and commission service provision to support and protect residents, as well as working to prevent substance misuse becoming an issue in the first place through the Newcastle Drug and Alcohol Delivery Plan.

“Anti-drug programmes in Newcastle include family and career support, training and community support, drug and alcohol services including those for your children and young people, residential rehabilitation places, harm reduction and needle exchange services.”