A police project which aims to tackle drug use in the North East has seized criminal assets worth a staggering amount in its first year.
Project ADDER (Addiction, Diversion, Disruption, Enforcement and Recovery) has recovered more than £2,300,000 in criminal assets since its launch a year ago.
Northumbria Police works in partnership with Newcastle City Council and a range of other charities and services on the project.
The aim is to help support residents and their families impacted by addiction, to stop the exploitation of vulnerable people, and dismantle the criminal organisations behind the supply of illegal and harmful drugs.
In the 365 days which Adder has been in action in Newcastle, the Force has executed 82 warrants and made 307 arrests.
Officers have also seized £267,546 of suspected criminal cash, £305,000 in crypto currency and assets worth £164,700.
As part of the activity, illegal drugs worth £1,564,565 were seized along with six cannabis farms and 67 weapons.
Almost 1,000 people have engaged with treatment services including harm minimisation services, care coordinators and outreach teams and 52 relatives of drug users were provided with face-to-face support between January and March 2022.
Some 226 Naloxone kits – used to reverse the effects of an opiate overdose – have also been distributed to treatment services thanks to ADDER funding.
Praising the first year of action, Force lead Superintendent Jamie Pitt said: “We know that the people who are often caught up cycles of addiction, exploitation and manipulation at the hands of criminals are some of the most vulnerable in our communities and it is only right that they are offered support.
“That’s what Project Adder does, it offers assistance and brings services together which means as a Force, we can develop our intelligence and investigatory capacity, support our partners in reducing drug- related harm whilst helping to signpost those in need to the vital recovery services they deserve.
“This year has also seen us carry out a range of enforcement activity to take out those supplying drugs and profiting from misery. We have made 307 arrests and taken more than a million pounds worth of illegal drugs out of the system outing a series dent in the pockets of organised criminals. Long may our work continue.”
Lorna Smith, Interim Director of Public Health at Newcastle City Council, said: “We know that drug and alcohol issues can impact not only individuals, but also families and communities and can exacerbate health, social and economic inequalities.
“The additional investment has meant tailored responses for those affected, including dedicated physical health care support, multi-disciplinary teams (including family support) and increasing earlier intervention and support.
“Our aim is to support people to recover and live to their full potential. The progress we have seen so far is testament to our partnership commitment and drive with, we look forward to further improving services and outcomes for residents of Newcastle.”