A BOROUGH has received more than £400,000 from the government to improve the treatment for drug addicts.

Blackburn with Darwen Council will work with local organisations to spend the cash on reducing narcotic related crime and deaths.

The authority's public health and wellbeing boss Cllr Damian Talbot revealed the £448,000 grant from Public Health England in a report to council colleagues.

Town hall public health staff will now work with local groups such as Blackburn-based THOMAS and national charity Change, Grow, Live which has a base in Ewood, to use the money to get people off drugs and keep them away from them.

Cllr Talbot's report entitled 'Additional Substance Misuse Funding' says: "Blackburn with Darwen has been awarded £448,000 from Public Health England to support work on drug related crime reduction and drug related deaths.

"The funding is only for 2021-22 and was granted for specific interventions as prescribed by PHE.

"The additional funding will increase treatment options and capacity, improve care pathways and enhance recovery support post prison release.

"It will also increase treatment and support via family work and increase diversionary activities via work with CGL, THOMAS, Active Lancashire, CrossFit 180 and probation."

In May statistics revealed that the coroners for Lancashire and Blackburn with Darwen found that the deaths of 58 people – nine women and 49 men – were related to drugs or alcohol in 2020.

In 2019 that figure was 74.

A Blackburn with Darwen Council spokesmann said: "It's important the right help is provided for people who need it. This funding will ensure the continuation of work with substance misuse provider partners to improve services and support and protect people against the harms that can be caused by substance abuse and addiction.

"The funding will enable the development of innovative solutions to the issues, increase treatment options and capacity and improve care and recovery help."

Darwen East Liberal Democrat Cllr Paul Browne said: "This is really welcome. It is for a good cause.

"Drug addiction in the borough is an epidemic.

"It causes a lot of crime - people breaking into houses and cars.

"I am in favour of anything which can get people of drugs or prevent them using them in the first place."