Leading drugs charity DrugScope has today called on the Government to reverse an “indefensible” cut in funding for drug education and prevention services working with young people.
A 10 per cent reduction in central government funding for the Young People’s Substance Misuse Grant has resulted in cuts in services working with vulnerable young people at risk of drug or alcohol misuse. Further uncertainty about funding from April 2008 is leading some local service commissioners to warn services they face closure over the next twelve months.
Only this week, Prime Minister Gordon Brown called for improvements in drug education, while announcing that the consultation on the next drugs strategy will be launched next week. The funding cut has already led to some services scaling back or ending drugs education work in schools.
A survey by DrugScope’s Druglink magazine has revealed the impact of the funding cut for front-line services:
- an award winning project in Brighton has had to substantially scale down its service for children of drug misusing parents. The service is threatened with closure in April 2008;
- in Kent a number of services are at risk, including prevention projects working with children in care, young offenders and young people excluded from school;
- in Bristol, an early intervention service which places a drug worker in every secondary school and pupil referral unit is facing closure in 2008;
- in Devon, a service working with schools and providing one-to-one support with young people is closing;
- services working with young people in Northamptonshire are being cut and job losses have already occurred.
Commenting on the impact of the cuts Martin Barnes, chief executive of DrugScope, said:
“Services working with young people are having to make cuts despite the Prime Minister’s call to improve drug education and prevention. Morale in many services is at rock bottom, not helped by further uncertainty about funding from next April. The cut is hurting and is indefensible.”
The Young People’s Substance Misuse Grant is a pooled cross-departmental grant managed by the Home Office. This year (07/08) the grant was cut by over 10% from £61.8 to £55.2 million. £4 million was a reduction by the Department of Health and around £2 million a reduction by the Home Office.
For more information please contact Ruth Goldsmith in the DrugScope Press Office on 020 7940 7517 (07736 895563 out of hours) or at email@example.com