The Drug Education Forum is today releasing the early findings of a survey of Drug and Alcohol Action Teams (DAATs) showing funding for drug education and prevention work for children and young people is under attack.
Yesterday Forum member DrugScope revealed that in 2007/08 the funding for young people?s drug work will be reduced from ?61,765,000 to ?55,248,000 – a cut of just over 10%.
The Drug Education Forum survey shows that even last year many DAATs were reducing the amount they spent on drug education and prevention work with children and young people.
Of those describing cuts in service for last year almost all said this was a result of reduced government funding. A number of our respondents went on to tell us about funding concerns for the year ahead. One said:
?my annual budget has been cut in half?
Others argued out that because of cuts they had been forced to withdraw funding for education and prevention initiatives to target what is left at investing in treatment. Another says:
?Funding [for universal prevention] is likely to be reduced further in the next financial year jeopardising delivery.?
Andrew Brown, Coordinator of the Drug Education Forum, said:
Over the last 3 years we have been warning the government that changes they were making to funding would have long term consequences for the support for drug education. Now it is clear that despite the reassurances we received frontline drug prevention and education work is under attack.
Schools and youth services need the sort of support that is under threat to improve the content of drug education and to make sure that the most vulnerable children and young people are given every chance to avoid and reduce the damage that drugs can do.ÿ
The Drug Education Forum surveyed 39 (27%) Drug And Alcohol Action Teams in England the findings of which will be available for download from the Forum?s website in due course. In the meantime an executive summary of the report can be downloaded here.
In January 2004 the Drug Education Forum warned that the removal of ring-fenced funding would see a reduction in the number of school drugs advisers (http://observer.guardian.co.uk/drugs/story/0,,1125765,00.html).
In a previous survey of DAATs the Forum found that half of the DAATs that responded report that support for drug education faced uncertain funding in 2005/06, and 8 out of 24 respondents report that there has already been a loss of posts for the support of drug education. (http://www.drugeducationforum.com/uploads/support%20for%20drug%20education%202004-05.pdf)
Last year the Forum wrote to the DfES, Home Office and Department of Health outlining concerns about funding for drug education and prevention. We said:
?In the last 3 years the DfES removed the ring fencing for drug education and in the last round DAATs have had their budgets for drug education and prevention cut. The tightening of NHS budget control which has also impacted on drug education and prevention in many areas where Primary Care Trusts have decided not to fund Choosing Health initiatives.?