Spending on drugs policy

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.

Spending on drug policy

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.

Spend on Education in EU

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4 thoughts on “Spending on drugs policy

  1. Across these countries, is there any relationship between spending on prevention, and prevalence of drug and alcohol problems?

  2. Good question! I’m afraid I don’t know off the top of my head. I did a post on prevalence levels amongst young people when the HBSC report came out in May if you want to take a look.

    A caveat for making a correlation must be that there’s no analysis of the effectiveness of the prevention spend either – we know that a fair amount of the UK spend goes on public health advertising (FRANK) but we don’t have any data on what the outcomes of that spending might be.

  3. Pingback: If drug education is central to the government’s prevention strategy why don’t they know more about it? | Mentor Thinks

  4. Pingback: If drug education is central to the government’s prevention strategy why don’t they know more about it?

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