09/07/2003

Rise in crack users sent for treatment

More crack users are being targeted in custody and referred to drug treatment services, a new report published by the Home Office claims.

The 'Arrest Referral' report shows that between October 2001 and September 2002, 12,014 crack users were interviewed, and of those 8,656 were referred to specialist drug treatment services - 18.5% more than the previous year.

The figures for all drug users show that 62% (22,329) of offenders interviewed were referred on to specialist drug treatment services.

Home Office Drugs Minister Caroline Flint said: "We are still in the early days of a new drugs programme, and there is much to learn. Arrest Referral is a voluntary scheme, an offender is not forced into treatment, so the fact that a higher percentage of misusers are taking up treatment options is very promising.

"The number of crack users being identified and referred into treatment has increased and I consider this a success, particularly as crack users are a difficult group to engage in treatment. I'm pleased that we are getting better at targeting crack users and referring them into treatment to reduce their offending behaviour."

The updated Drug Strategy was published on December 3 2002 and is supported by annual expenditure on tackling drugs which will rise from £1.2 billion this financial year to nearly £1.5 billion from April 2005.

(GMcG)

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