Sajid Javid has said recreational drug users are fuelling an international criminal enterprise, as the government announced a £780m strategy to rebuild the drug treatment system.
The health secretary accused casual users of cocaine of being “the final link in a chain that has suffering, violence and exploitation at every stage”.
The government announced on Monday a funding boost for drug treatment services. Its 10-year drugs strategy was published after a weekend of briefings focusing on targeting users and suppliers, including gangs behind the so-called county lines phenomenon, in which young, vulnerable people are often turned into cross-country mules.
In an article for the Guardian, Javid wrote: “People having a line of cocaine might not think they’re causing anyone harm, or that they’re playing a part in a criminal enterprise, but they’re actually the final link in a chain that has suffering, violence and exploitation at every stage.
“Behind every illicit drug is a human cost. The ‘county lines’ operations that increasingly involve young people, the human trafficking, and the use of ‘cuckooing’, where drug dealers target the most vulnerable and use their homes for criminal activity.”