Communities in Hastings are set to benefit from a £5 million funding boost to tackle harm caused by the supply and use of drugs.
The town has been announced as a pilot area for Project ADDER, a Government initiative to help agencies and organisations work together reduce drug-related deaths, offending and the prevalence of drug use.
Led by East Sussex County Council (ESCC) and Hastings Borough Council (HBC), the initiative will provide a range of interventions that address and reduce the harm caused by the supply and use of drugs.
Councillor Carl Maynard, the county council’s lead member for Adult Social Care and Health, says: “We very much welcome the funding which will help us tackle the high rates of drug deaths and high rates of heroin and crack cocaine use in Hastings.
“The money will help us address a range of issues created by the supply of drugs in the Hastings area, including increased help and support for people to access treatment and recovery services as well as increased enforcement against those supplying drugs.”
Councillor Paul Barnett, HBC’s lead member for Urban Environment and Community Safety added: “We’re very grateful to be one of the pilot areas for the Project ADDER funding, to help begin to tackle the issue of drug use in Hastings.
“The council has been working to target the core issues behind problems such as anti-social behaviour and crime locally, and we are aware that drug usage is one of these core issues.
“We look forward to coming together with other organisations to help address this problem, not just with enforcement but with better access to outreach support and hope this can begin to make a real difference in the town going forward.”
The £5 million funding will be spread over the next two and a half years and will help to reduce the supply of drugs, increase the number of drug users using treatment and recover services and reduce drug-related reoffending.
By tackling drug supply and use it is hoped that the cost to local health services and police forces will reduce and the number of young and vulnerable people safeguarded will increase.
As well as commissioning more services from local groups and organisations, the money will also enable the county council to employ officers to work with those affected by drug dependency.