09 February 2024

WithYou welcomes the PAC report on reducing the harm from illegal drugs


Responding to the final report from the Public Accounts Committee on reducing the harm from illegal drugs, WithYou’s Head of Policy, Robin Pollard said:

“With a General Election around the corner, the final report from the Public Accounts Committee on reducing harm from illegal drugs comes at an important time. WithYou welcomes the report's recommendations, including calling for sustained long-term investment and a focus on the specific needs of people who use drugs but are underserved by current services, such as women and young people.

Though drug-related harm and deaths remain at critical levels, the investment made through the 2021 Drugs Strategy is starting to have a transformative impact on our services and clients. Staff capacity and the number of people in treatment are increasing, whilst new initiatives are ensuring that more people from underserved communities are getting the tailored support they need.

However, there are no “quick fixes” to decades of underinvestment. Investment cannot just be for three years but must be sustained for the duration of the 10-year Drugs Strategy. This must be accompanied by a more coherent Government approach to prevention, and a better understanding of the structural barriers to accessing services.

There is a significant ‘invest to save’ case for drug treatment, with every £1 spent on harm reduction and treatment providing a combined return on investment of £4. Failure to commit sustainable long-term funding after 2025 will lead to many of the improvements that we are currently seeing being lost.”

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