Government announces plans for harsher penalties for 'lifestyle drug users'

  • Watch the report by ITV Meridian's Charlotte Wilkins

Drug users could have their passports and driving licences confiscated as part of the Government's new 10-year plan to battle class-A drugs.

The Prime Minister described drugs as "bad for society" as he announced the strategy for England and Wales.

Drugs drive nearly half of all homicides in the UK and the total cost to society is put at nearly £20 billion a year. 

Investment in rehab services to cut reoffending and targeting and so called 'lifestyle drug users', are among the plans.

Other measures will include more treatment for addicts and a clampdown on county line gangs. Police will also use dealers' seized mobile phones to send messages to their clients to discourage drug use.

Support services in Kent and Sussex have said they are cautiously optimistic at the news.

The Government have revealed their latest policy for tackling the use of illegal drugs

While the funding announcement is welcomed by the Oasis project in Brighton - a service for women and families going through addiction - said they want to see some of the money spent on specialist services.

Fran Carpenter, Oasis Project said: "We know that women are outnumbered 3-1 in mainstream treatment services and nationally women have been disproportionately affected by drug related deaths. We think it's really important to have gender responsive care, women specific spaces that really promote drawing strength from each other. It would reduce shame and help really support each other through that journey."

  • Kit Malthouse MP, Crime and Policing minister:

The Minister for Policing, Kit Malthouse, said: "There's about 4,500-5,000 people that work here in the houses of Parliament. We've got three million, we think, estimated drug users across the whole of the UK. The people who work in Parliament are a reflection of that, so you wouldn't be surprised if there were some."

"What we want to do is get a system wherever they work, whether it is in Westminster or even here at Millbank with ITV, that people recognise the part they're playing in this criminality by their thoughtless drug usage and stop it.''

  • Sir Keir Starmer MP, Labour leader:

Sir Keir Starmer said: ''There's no doubt that the drug problem has got a lot worse in the last ten years, particularly issues like drug related deaths and the county lines, which are destroying lives. And the question for the Government is not just over the plans today, but the money that they've taken out of the system. Millions and millions of pounds taken out of the system over the years, and that has caused a lot of the problems.''