By Andy Gregory / Independent

The drugs trade has “never caused greater harm to society” than it does today, a landmark review has found, with police efforts not only failing to stem supply but often fuelling increased violence in a market which now involves an “unprecedented” number of children.

Government cuts to services and a failure to contain the growing flow of higher purity drugs has allowed a “perfect storm” to develop, which can only be tackled by urgent government intervention, Dame Carol Black’s independent review indicated.

But reacting to the review commissioned by her predecessor, home secretary Priti Patel announced an additional £5m for law enforcement to tackle county lines, failing to provide any additional funding for “disappearing” drug treatment services.

While the illicit drugs market now costs the UK some £19bn a year – more than double its profits – only £600m is spent on treatment and prevention.

“The amount of un-met need is growing, some treatment services are disappearing, and the treatment workforce is declining in number and quality,” Dame Carol wrote.