£1m boost for Exeter Prison to tackle substance misuse

PUBLISHED: 12:22 08 September 2009 | UPDATED: 00:08 16 June 2010

The fight against problem drug use in East Devon is set for a major boost as almost £1 million is put into substance misuse services at Exeter Prison.

The fight against problem drug use in East Devon is set for a major boost as almost £1 million is put into substance misuse services at Exeter Prison.

The money has been secured by HMP Exeter and the Devon Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT) in partnership with Devon Primary Care Trust and is the biggest award of its kind in the country.

It will be used to introduce integrated drug treatment services (IDTS). This is a programme to improve drug rehabilitation and develop workshops and educational programmes at Exeter Prison to help past offenders stay off drugs.

Kristian Tomblin, Devon Drug and Alcohol Team manager, said more than half of all prisoners are known to have drug misuse issues.

"This extra funding should have a huge impact on tackling substance misuse and will give prisoners the chance to develop better skills, which will contribute to a reduction in reoffending," he said.

"Prisoners are often most vulnerable when they have only just been released and they will benefit from this intensive support which will give them a much better chance of getting into treatment and staying in treatment. By expanding drug treatment services in prison we will be able to reach some of the most problematic drug users.

"The money will help us to join up prison and community services to ensure prisoners have good access to health workers, advice and support so that we reduce overdoses and offending behaviour and prepare them for a drug-free life.

"It can involve intensive psychosocial support, including group work or one-to-one sessions to prepare prisoners for release.

Greg Ward, Exeter prison's IDTS project manager, said: "The funding the prison has received will make a fundamental difference to improving drug treatment.

"Substance misuse causes significant harm to the local community as well as to the individuals involved.

"Investment in treatment has been shown to bring significant savings to the community in criminal justice and health costs, as well as demonstrating a reduction in substance related offending thereby making communities safer.


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