A new, system-wide approach to tackling drugs is being piloted in Blackpool.
Standing for Addiction, Diversion, Disruption, Enforcement and Recovery, Project ADDER sees the police, council and health services working in partnership to address the root causes of drugs misuse and break down supply chains.
The project is being piloted in four locations across England plus one in Wales and will focus on co-ordinated law enforcement activity together with expanded diversionary programmes and treatment and recovery services. This is in addition to existing work and will ensure people in need of help can access support.
Project ADDER will run for 3 years and brings a Home Office investment of £1.1 million for the Blackpool pilot.
The programme aims to tackle illegal drug misuse by bolstering local police capabilities to support an increase in targeted drug supply disruption and related offending; use the criminal justice system to divert people who use drugs away from offending and into health interventions; and a comprehensive expansion of drug outreach, harm reduction, treatment and recovery support services.
Det Ch Supt Sue Clarke, Head of Lancashire Violence Reduction Network and Project ADDER Lead said:
“The Lancashire Violence Reduction Network is very proud to be contributing to this innovative project. This is a true multi-agency, holistic approach to improving the lives of families in Blackpool whose health and well-being has been negatively impacted by class A drugs.
“As a police officer of 30 years I am confident that this approach will give families affected and the wider community hope for the future. We will enforce the law against those who are profiteering out of the misery of others and we will work in a holistic way with agencies, particularly those who have lived experience, to help those who are affected. Our aim is to tackle the underlying causes of drugs misuse and arrest those who exploit vulnerable citizens.”
Det Supt Becky Smith added:
“We have worked really hard as a partnership in Blackpool over the last three years to change cultures around how we identify, protect and disrupt those involved in county lines exploitation.
“Having a dedicated team of officers working alongside practitioners from partner agencies will now provide us with an opportunity to dismantle the organised criminal gangs but also to work differently – diverting those individuals involved in middle-market drug supply away from criminality whilst reducing drugs deaths and making a real difference to people’s lives.
“Having policed Blackpool for the last 27 years and seen first-hand the harm that is caused by the supply of drugs, this is an exciting opportunity for Blackpool to be part of. The team is really keen to make an impact and to make improvements for our communities.”
Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner supported the project:
“It’s great to see the Lancashire Violence Reduction Network involved in this project in Blackpool, which truly highlights the opportunities that partnership working can bring and the positive outcomes that can come from a multi-agency approach, and is what the Network is all about.
“The launch of this project is another example of the great work that the Violence Reduction Network has been involved in since my office secured funding for its creation in 2019.
“This is not an issue that policing can tackle alone. It is crucial that all parts of our society work together to tackle violent crime and its root causes head on and make our communities safer.”
Cllr Jo Farrell, Blackpool Council’s Cabinet Member responsible for Adult Social Care and Health, said:
“ADDER is a new programme of intervention to tackle drug misuse in Blackpool.
“This intervention programme is not just about cracking down on organised crime, but about recognising that people can be victims of their own addiction as well as perpetrators of crime.
“We will take a trauma-informed approach which recognises the vulnerability of individuals and their life stories. Our interventions will be shaped by people with lived experience of substance misuse.
“The project will build on the existing multi agency partnership work already happening in the town. Using this collaborative approach, we will support and empower drug users to change their lifestyles, therefore preventing the many effects of drug misuse including poor health and homelessness.
“The programme in Blackpool will have three interlinked streams of intervention.
“There will be a police response, including diversion into treatment and support. There will also be an adult’s team which will provide mental health support, housing, outreach, help to get and keep a job, and drug treatment.
“Thirdly, there will be a Young ADDER team which will help vulnerable young people with complex needs to get their lives back on track.
“All three streams of intervention will be supported by the council, NHS, lived experience teams, voluntary organisations and other commissioned services, driven by their shared desire to tackle drug misuse in Blackpool.”