Town losing out in drug cash handout
NORTH Somerset is near the bottom of the pile when it comes to a multi-million pound Government grant to help drug addicts - despite being
NORTH Somerset is near the bottom of the pile when it comes to a multi-million pound Government grant to help drug addicts - despite being home to 11 per cent of the country's registered residential drug rehabilitation services.In 2007/08, North Somerset is predicted to be third from bottom for the amount of cash given out to help each drug addict through the Government's pooled treatment budget (PTB).According to figures released by The National Treatment Agency, the total amount that North Somerset will get will be £645,765, which will amount to £1,092 per person in treatment. This compares to up to £3,490 per person in other areas of the country.When the National Treatment Agency (NTA) works out how much each person in treatment gets, it looks at how many addicts come from North Somerset and does not account for how many people from outside the area are seeking help for drug addiction in the local authority area.Out of the 149 organisations that get the cash, North Somerset is predicted to be 146th in 2007/08.In 2005/06 North Somerset was bottom of the list for funding, with each drug addict getting just £465.The NTA works out how much money each area gets by taking into account factors including demand for treatment, population, cost of living, and how deprived an area is. The agency, a special health authority, was established by the Government in 2001 and allocates funding to drug action teams. But in many areas, including North Somerset, drug action teams have merged with organisations like local authorities, the police and the probation service, to form community safety partnerships.North Somerset's partnership spokesman, Susan Kaufman, said: "We are among the lowest but we are getting a 35 per cent increase on the grant for 2007/08. I would like to see more money given to North Somerset."In this area a significant amount of the money is given to the Addiction Recovery Agency, which has offices and drop-in facilities in the Boulevard, Weston. It provides help, including needle exchanges and counselling services, for those with addiction problems.