Wirral has been selected to be a part of a national scheme to tackle drug-related crime and health impacts.
The funds are part of the Government’s ‘Project ADDER’, (Addiction, Diversion, Disruption, Enforcement and Recovery), a joint programme between the Home Office, Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England.
Locally, the scheme will develop enhanced support for those leaving prison, people experiencing homelessness and recovery support around employment. A key focus of the Wirral programme is related to improving access to local NHS services for support for physical and mental health conditions, as well as support for families.
Cllr Yvonne Nolan, Chair of Wirral Council’s Adult Social Care and Health committee, said: “As an accelerator site, Wirral will build on the borough’s already extensive drug-related support options, testing a ‘whole-system’ approach to reduce drug-related deaths and offending.
“The scheme will be led by the Council’s public health team and work with our local specialist drug treatment and recovery service, Merseyside Police and a wide range of partners to further develop the longstanding support networks in place to tackle drug-related issues.”
ADDER sites are already running in Blackpool, Hastings, Middlesbrough, Norwich and Swansea Bay, after the Government announced a £148 million drug crime funding package in January this year. Wirral will be joining the scheme along with several others as an ‘accelerator site’.
Julie Webster, Wirral’s Director of Public Health, said: “Nationally, Project ADDER aims to reduce drug use, drug related deaths and offending. Wirral, like the other project areas, has been selected as an accelerator site based on considerations such as levels of drug-related deaths and drug-related offending.
“This funding will enable us to further develop local support options for those living with the impacts of drug-use in Wirral.”
Community-based accelerator sites like Wirral will build on work of the ADDER model by providing more investment to participating areas and more focused support.
Other accelerator sites will be located across the Liverpool City Region in Liverpool and Knowsley, as well as further afield in Bristol, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Newcastle, Wakefield.