First dedicated drugs strategy launched for the county
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Saving lives and changing them for the better are among the key priorities in Lincolnshire’s first dedicated drugs strategy.
Following months of work the strategy includes pledges to take robust action against those who produce and supply drugs, while also supporting people with substance misuse and mental health needs.
For the first time, the strategy has been written following consultation and input from several agencies, to offer a broader and cohesive response to drugs issues in the county.
In Lincolnshire, there are an estimated 40,800 drug users aged between 16 and 59-years-old. The new four-year Lincolnshire Drugs Strategy – which has been developed by Lincolnshire Police in partnership with members of the Safer Lincolnshire Partnership (SLP) – now means they will all follow the same plan and work more closely with each other to maximise the impact their efforts will have.
Deputy Chief Constable Jason Harwin, has led the strategy. “Illicit drugs destroy lives, and organised criminals gain significant profit from the exploitation of some of our most vulnerable members of our communities,” said DCC Harwin, who is also the National Police Chiefs Council lead for Drugs.
"In Lincolnshire, there are an estimated 40,800 drug users aged between 16 and 59-years-old. The strategy has been developed to address the harm that illicit drugs can have on those individuals, their families and local communities, as well as the dangers of an unregulated market. This new way of working demonstrates our partnership ambition and commitment to address the illicit use of drugs in Lincolnshire, with a key focus on reducing drug related deaths, reducing the prevalence of illicit drugs in our communities, and reducing drug-related offending. The delivery of this strategy will not only save lives but will change lives for the better. This is a core responsibility of us all individually and collectively as a partnership.”
Plans include targeting suspects involved in the supply and production of illicit drugs, stripping assets from offenders, safeguarding those exploited to commit criminal offences, and seeking remand for people charged with possession with intent to supply and supply offences.
Lincolnshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Marc Jones, said: “This new plan will rightly bring partners together in focussing on the destructive effects of drugs on our community. But what the public, quite rightly, will want to see is this strategy turned into actions that protect the vulnerable and reduce crime. It is an excellent step forward and I look forward to seeing the aims delivered to support our efforts to keep our communities safe.”
Sustainable treatment has also been addressed, with plans including early identification of substance misuse and mental health needs, alternative routes from the criminal justice system, and the development of a recovery community support group. Drug testing on arrest, out of court disposals for users to access treatment, and work with schools, colleges and further educational providers will also form part of the strategy.
Councillor Mrs Patricia Bradwell OBE, executive member for safer communities, said: “Illegal drug use, and substance misuse in general, can have a devastating impact on the lives of individuals and families – and the wider community as well. If we are to tackle illicit drug use in Lincolnshire successfully, it’s vital that local organisations work in a joined-up way, addressing all aspects of the issue.
"This strategy sets out how we will achieve that, by preventing drug abuse, educating people about the dangers and treating those with a drug dependency. This should help reduce the prevalence of drugs within our communities, leading to fewer drug-related deaths and offences.”
The four-year strategy is based on the data generated from the Drugs Market Profile 2021. You can read the full strategy here.