World renowned experts are to gather in Middlesbrough on Monday to share the latest research and thinking on reducing drug addiction.
The conference will culminate in the announcement of plans for a ground breaking initiative in the town aimed at helping hardcore drug addicts to turn their lives around.
The pilot scheme also aims to reduce the enormous cost the problem poses to local businesses and communities and to free up NHS, police and other criminal justice resources.
It will focus on those addicts who do not respond to current strategies and find themselves on a cycle of offending to feed the addiction and prison, which continues until they die.
It has been estimated that a prolific cohort of 20 drug-dependent offenders in Middlesbrough have cost the public purse £784,000 over the last two years - and that’s only based on crimes that are detected.
The cost of putting them through the pioneering programme would be £12,000 per addict.
The conference is being organised by Middlesbrough Recovering Together and the Foundations specialist GP practice with financial support from the pharmaceutical company Martindale Pharma.
It is supported by Barry Coppinger, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, who is bringing key partners together to drive the pilot scheme forward.
“It’s clear that for a small group of addicts the current strategies are not working and if we don’t try something new the cycle of offending and the enormous costs to society will simply continue and in all likelihood increase” said Mr Coppinger.
“For a fraction of the cost of their offending we can give these people hope and a chance to turn their lives around, protect the public and local economy and free up vital NHS and police resources currently devoted to dealing with this small group.”
Injectable Opioid Treatment will see a clinic established to allow substance users to self-administer under supervision three times a day in a programme that weans them off heroin. At the same time a co-ordinated agency response provides appropriate medical, housing and other assistance to finally get users off drugs, off the streets and back into society.
The trial will focus on long-term addicts for whom all other treatment has failed and who are known to be the most active criminals in the town as they look to finance their addiction. If successful it is hoped the pilot will attract funding for similar schemes across the country.
Daniel Ahmed, a clinical partner with Foundations, said: "Basically these were traumatised children who experienced adverse child experiences and are trying to survive these traumas. The rest of their lives have not been much better as they have been constantly punished by society.
“The reality is that at present they are on a cycle of addiction and offending until they die.”
The conference on Monday features a range of UK and international experts outlining the latest research and will be attended by health, criminal justice, academic and other professionals from across the country.
It will culminate with Barry Coppinger outlining how this multi-agency pilot will be developed further to allow the ground breaking facility to be opened in Middlesbrough.
You Can't Recover if You're Dead will take place at Jury's Inn Middlesbrough on Monday 3 September. Please see the below important documents relating to the event:
Agenda (PDF, 227KB)
Speaker Biographies (PDF, 180KB)
Posted on Monday 3rd September 2018