AROUND £3million in funding has been announced to improve drug and alcohol addiction treatment across the county.

Blackburn with Darwen and Lancashire have been announced by the Department of Health and Social Care as being two of 50 local authorities with the ‘highest level of need’, and are therefore set to receive enhanced funding to tackle the local drug and alcohol treatment crisis.

Under the announcement, Blackburn is set to receive £567,783 in its drug strategy allocation, plus an additional £55,334 to fund inpatient detoxification.

Lancashire is set to receive £2,584,769 in drug strategy allocation, plus an additional £220,493 to fund inpatient detoxification.

Blackburn and Lancashire are among the first wave of 50 local authorities receiving enhanced funding based on their ‘high level of need’, which was decided based on the local drug death rate, deprivation, opiate and crack cocaine prevalence and crime rates.

Another 50 local authorities will be selected for 2023/24 and the final, less-urgent areas in 2024/25.

The breakdown of funding was announced earlier this month by Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid, as part of a £780m national investment over three years.

The Health Secretary said: “This is a significant step in our commitment to rebuild the drug treatment system, save lives and level up the country.

“We’re investing a record amount in treatment services and ensuring some of the most deprived areas in England are first in line for this funding, to support those most vulnerable by cutting drug use.”

In 2022 to 2023, a total of £85.7m will be issued to improve services in line with the Government’s 2021 drug strategy and the recommendations from Dame Carol Black’s independent review, in which she described the current system “not fit for purpose” with her findings described as “disturbing, even shocking” warning “funding cuts have left treatment and recovery services on their knees”.

Consultant treatment lead for the UK Addiction Treatment Group (UKAT), Nuno Albuquerque, said: “The extra funding for drug and alcohol treatment services in Blackburn with Darwen and Lancashire is of course welcomed, but we hope it isn’t all smoke and mirrors.

“This money needs to be spent cleverly by the councils here and with the addict in mind.

"There’s no point spending money to detoxify people from drugs only to leave them on their own straight after.

"Their body will no longer be addicted, but their minds will be.

"Consistent and immediate therapy and rehabilitation is required to ensure that this extra funding isn’t wasted and most importantly, to give the person in treatment the best chance of a life in recovery.”

All local authorities in England will eventually receive additional funding as part of the drugs strategy’s £780m investment.

The UK Addiction Treatment Group provides 24/7 confidential help and support with drugs and alcohol.