The Home Office announced recently that across England and Wales more than 13,000 people had been supported in drug treatment interventions and more than 600 organised crime groups had been disrupted.
In Hastings alone, 70 people are currently being supported through drug treatment interventions as part of the initiative led by East Sussex County Council and Sussex Police.
In the year since its launch the project, which is designed to address the town’s high rate of drug deaths and heroin and crack cocaine use, has also seen a reduction in the number of unplanned exits from treatment and a drop in the number of people receiving opiate substitute therapy and who are not using illicit opiates on top.
Welcoming the results, Cllr Carl Maynard, East Sussex County Council lead member for adult social care and health, said: “Drug deaths, high rates of drug use, and the antisocial and criminal behaviour it brings to Hastings are not things that can be addressed by one organisation alone, and we have seen over the last year what can be achieved through successful partnership working.
“Hastings sadly has one of the highest drug-related death rates in the country, but the work being made possible by Project ADDER funding has enabled us and our partner organisations to have a positive influence on the issues related to drug use in the town.
“By working together to tackle drug-related crime and harm, I am confident we will continue to make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable people in Hastings.”
Sussex Police reported that under Project ADDER so far they have completed 578 drug seizures, taken 368 weapons off the streets including 172 knives and seized £45,719 in cash.
The police have also shut down a number of local county lines drug networks and disrupted 30 organised crime groups.
Inspector Aidan Cornwall of the Hastings Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “Project ADDER has made a real difference in tackling drug supply in Hastings. Since April 2021 we’ve executed nearly 50 search warrants in the town and arrested dozens of persons on suspicion of drug trafficking offences.
“We’ve been able to deploy officers in plain clothes on a regular basis and we are seeing an increase in support being provided by our partners for people struggling with drug addiction.
“I’m glad to see Project ADDER has now been extended and look forward to being able to deliver further results like these in targeting those who sell drugs and cause harm within our community.”
Project ADDER (Addiction, Diversion, Disruption, Enforcement and Recovery) was launched last year by the Home Office to tackle drug use and dependency in key areas across the UK.
Hastings is one of 13 project sites and received a total £5 million of government funding through the programme which is running until 2023.
For more information on Project ADDER visit https://new.eastsussex.gov.uk/community/people/project-adder.
Drug-related criminal activity can be reported by calling 101, emailing email@example.com or calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.