Committee members at Wirral’s Adult Social Care and Public Health Committee have agreed to accept grants of more than £6 million to tackle drug-related harms in Wirral communities.
The monies, known as the Supplementary Substance Misuse Treatment and Recovery (SSMTR) Grant, take the place of the funding given to Wirral Council under the Project ADDER programme for the past two years by the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities.
Cllr Yvonne Nolan, Chair of Wirral’s Adult Social Care and Health committee, said, “Over the last few years, Project ADDER funding enabled us to improve the quality and capacity of Wirral’s drug treatment service, to enhance our community recovery services, and to strengthen efforts to reduce drug-related deaths locally.
“As the ADDER programme comes to a close, this is an incredibly strong foundation on which the SSMTR grant can continue to build.”
Plans for the SSMTR programme are being developed with support from Wirral’s Combatting Drugs Partnership. The plans include investment in the wider system, beyond direct drug treatment services, to deliver the aims and objectives of the Wirral Drug Strategy, due to be published in Summer 2023.
The work from project ADDER is now starting to pay dividends with more people entering treatment and receiving support. The SSMTR will build on this platform, working to reduce drug-related harms across Wirral.
With an expanded remit, the SSMTR grant will look to work with children and young people and also acknowledge the interactions between alcohol and drug misuse.
Cllr Nolan continued, “Despite the fantastic work of our health and community partners, Wirral still has a large cohort of people who use drugs, many of whom have complex health and social needs.
“Continuing work is needed to ensure that all those who need treatment are able to access it, and that treatment quality continues to improve.
“This funding will enable our drug system to continue to strengthen local capacity to reduce drug-related harms for people who use drugs and our wider communities.”
Delivery plans for how the funding will be used have been endorsed by the Wirral Combatting Drugs Partnership and will be reviewed by Office for Health Improvement and Disparities. SSMTR funding will be received from April 2023 with work commencing immediately.