The immediate future of Middlesbrough’s Heroin-Assisted Treatment programme (HAT) has been secured.
The ground-breaking HAT programme was initiated by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for Cleveland in 2019 with local partners.
It provides medical treatment for people with long-term dependency on heroin, who have failed to benefit from first-line treatment options.
Current PCC funding arrangements come to an end on 30 September 2021.
Funding from Project ADDER (Addiction, Diversion, Disruption, Enforcement and Recovery) as well as contributions from South Tees Public Health and legacy funding from Durham Tees Valley Community Rehabilitation Company, has secured HAT’s immediate future.
The programme – the first of its kind in the UK – will continue to be funded until the end of March 2022.
Academics from Teesside University will be conducting a full review of the programme, which will be used to support efforts to secure additional funding post-March 2022.
PCC for Cleveland Steve Turner said: “I am pleased that alternative funding has been secured to support the continued delivery of the HAT scheme.
“Many of our communities are blighted by drug-related crime, violence and anti-social behaviour.
“As outlined in my draft Police & Crime Plan, my priority over the coming months is to get tough on drugs and gangs.
“The work delivered through Project ADDER provides a whole-system response to disrupt the supply of drugs.
“It does this through robust enforcement and protecting the most vulnerable, alongside diversionary activity and treatment and recovery provision to support those recovering from addiction – and this now includes HAT.”
HAT has seen the OPCC work with partners in public health, prison, probation, police and drug treatment services.
Heroin users tend to place a disproportionate strain on health, criminal justice and other public services – at significant cost to those funding them.
An independent evaluation of HAT noted some significant successes including a massive reduction in substance misuse by those attending the programme.
South Tees Joint Director of Public Health, Mark Adams, said: “The HAT programme has been successful in working with local people for whom the traditional offer of support does not meet their needs.”
“Middlesbrough securing Project ADDER funding enables us to deliver innovative schemes and employ specialist staff to provide a wide range of interventions and support.”
Project ADDER is funded by the Home Office and Public Health England. It aims to reduce the rate of drug deaths, drug-related offending and the prevalence of drug use across the force area over a period of two and a half years.