The Department for Health publish the UK Focal Point report on drugs every year. It’s a fantastically useful document in many ways setting out the progress that has been made by government and the challenges they’ve faced.
One of the important things that the report does is quantify the amount of money that is spent on drug policy. It’s from here that we know that spending on ‘drug education’ (in reality the FRANK budget) fell to £0.5 million last year.
But what the report doesn’t do is tell us about the spending that isn’t labelled explicitly as being about drugs, but none the less is. In our field the money that schools have to deliver their drug education lessons for example, but more importantly all the money that is tied up in the criminal justice system.
Here I’m grateful to Professor Alex Stevens from Kent University who tweeted a link to the EMCDDA’s estimate of how much we’re spending.
In terms of education the EMCDDA suggest that in 2005 about 1.4% of the total budget was spent on education, compared to over 60% on public order and safety.
I thought it’d be worth looking at whether we’re an exception in spending at that sort of level and so I’ve looked at what has been labelled as ‘education’, ‘prevention’ or ‘demand reduction’. It should be noted that not all countries provide data on their spending, but where they have it is clear that the UK spending in this area whilst similar to many others is still at the lower end of the spectrum.