Tackling Problem Drug Use: Thirtieth Report of Session 2009-10 Report, Together with Formal Minutes, Oral and Written Evidence - House of Commons Papers Session 2009-10, 456 (Paperback)
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There are 330,000 problem drug users in England. They are estimated, based on research covering the 2003-04 period, to cost society over GBP 15 billion a year, GBP 13.9 billion of which is due to drug-related crime. Fully one quarter of all problem drug users are hard-core offenders for whom drug treatment is ineffective and, indeed, whose offending has sharply increased after entering treatment. It is of particular concern that measures to cut problem drug use by young people are having limited effect. Preventing the young from descending into problem drug use is an essential part of bringing down the number of problem drug users in future. In 2008, the Government introduced a 10 year cross-departmental drug strategy to tackle problem drug use, which it defined as use of opiates (mainly heroin) and/or crack cocaine. The Home Office has overall responsibility for the strategy, with a number of other government departments and agencies, at national, regional and local levels, sharing responsibility for its delivery. Central and local government collectively spend GBP 1.2 billion a year to deliver the measures set out in the strategy. Given the public money spent on the strategy and the cost to society it is unacceptable that there has not been sufficient evaluation of the programme of measures in the strategy and that it is not known if the strategy is directly reducing the overall cost of drug-related crimes. Following a recommendation made by the National Audit Office, the Home Office has agreed to produce an overall framework to evaluate and report on the value for money achieved from the strategy, with initial results from late 2011.
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