Drug misusers who commit a crime could ‘queue jump’
non-offending misusers and access treatment more quickly under the
government’s new fast track treatment programme for street
offenders, drugs charity DrugScope has warned.
Under the scheme street crime offenders with drug problems are
to be fast tracked to drug treatment services within 24 hours of
release in 10 street crime hotspots across the country.
But DrugScope fears that there will be “significant queue
jumping” with those coming from the police stations being seen
within 24 hours while others have to wait up to five months for
Chief executive Roger Howard said: “Are we really telling people
with drug problems that to get help they first have to commit a
“If the government accepts that immediacy of treatment is
essential to improving health and reducing crime, bringing waiting
times down for those needing treatment should be a priority across
the country and, not just apply to suspected criminals in 10 hot
DrugScope is also concerned that without new money it will be
difficult for treatment services to respond to demand, and believes
that if the initiative is to work then it must be supported by
significant new resources at the forthcoming spending review.
The new initiative is intended to ensure that offenders with
drug problems are identified early and directed to appropriate
treatment, to try and break the link between drugs and crime.