Seventy getting treatment through £3.4m Norwich drugs crackdown

Norfolk police raiding a property suspected of dealing drugs in Heathgate, Norwich as part of Operat

A project to help Norfolk police crack down on drugs and for addicts to get treatment is yielding results. - Credit: Archant

A £3.4m project to protect people from the scourge of heroin and crack cocaine in Norwich has seen 70 people getting help for drug addiction.

In January, the government announced Greater Norwich was one of five areas to get millions of pounds as part of a pilot project, combining targeted and tougher policing with better treatment and recovery services. 

Known as Project ADDER, standing for Addiction, Diversion, Disruption, Enforcement and Recovery, it brings together police, local councils and health services, with funding for three years.

Details of progress was given at a meeting of Norfolk County Council's people and communities select committee on Friday (July 16).

Anne-Louise Schofield, leading on Project ADDER for the public health department at the county council, said Norwich was picked due to a high number of drug deaths, increased purities of heroin and crack cocaine and county lines drug running operations connected to the city.

She said, since the project began in March, more than 70 people were engaged in treatment, recovery and support, with a target to get between 200 and 250 at any one time.

More than 300 police officers covering the Greater Norwich are being trained to administer a medication called Naloxone, which is used to counter the effects of opiate overdose, she said.

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The work was praised by county councillors, with Labour's Mike Smith-Clare, who represents Yarmouth Nelson and Southtown describing it as "excellent".

Brenda Jones, Labour county councillor. Pic: Labour Party.

Brenda Jones, Labour city councillor for Lakenham. - Credit: Labour Party

His Labour colleague Brenda Jones, who represents Lakenham, asked if the project included safe places where drug users could inject safely, with clean needles.

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Officers said such places, known as drug consumption rooms are not currently permitted by national policy, but if that were to change, they could be considered.

The committee heard Public Health England (PHE) has also awarded Norfolk £580,000 to Norfolk to roll out some of the positive work done by Project ADDER in more parts of the county - Great Yarmouth, King's Lynn and Theftord.

That money is for just one year, so the committee agreed to write to PHE to seek longer-term funding.

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