APCC responds to the National Audit Office report on reducing the harm from illegal drugs
Addictions & Substance Misuse Leads, Durham PCC Joy Allen and Dorset PCC David Sidwick, said:
“We welcome the National Audit Committee’s report on progress in delivering the ten-year From Harm to Hope drug strategy. PCCs are at the heart of drug strategy implementation, both nationally and through their lead role in local Combatting Drugs Partnerships.
“Around £903 million of additional funding is being put into tackling drug misuse, most of it going to public health. The NAO has a vital role in providing assurance that this money is invested well. With the annual cost to our society from illegal drug use estimated at £20 billion this money can be highly cost effective as well as turning lives around and making our communities safer. It’s really important that PCCs are providing support and challenge to their public health colleagues locally on how its spent, so there’s accountability to the community and drug related crime and anti-social behaviour are being addressed by local strategies.
“We’re pleased to see that the NAO report is broadly positive, while recognising its early days in a ten-year approach. We also welcome the focus on two issues that are priorities for us: the need to tackle demand through drug prevention - including a fundamental reset in our approach to the illegal gateway drugs like cannabis - and the need for greater certainty around future funding so we can plan and develop services for the longer term at local level. We recently met with the Chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs to discuss prevention and other interventions for 11 to 24 year olds and have since submitted evidence to the ACMD working group looking at this.
We’ll continue to provide a strong voice on prevention and early intervention nationally. Our portfolio is also conducting a deep dive looking at PCCs experiences of Combatting Drugs Partnerships, which will inform the greater understanding of local variation and understanding of local innovation at the national level which is also called for here. We’ll also be consulting with colleagues before submitting evidence to the parliamentary Public Account’s Committee, picking up the themes from this NAO report.