Speaking at an NCH conference in London, Mr Newton said:
'Drug misuse among the young is increasing. It is crucial that we do as much as we can, as soon as we can, to reverse the tide. Government already spends over £500m in fighting drugs on all fronts - education, prevention and enforcement. This new 'Children and Drugs' initiative by NCH Action for Children is an outstanding example of the kind of involvement which we have been encouraging from the voluntary and private sector.
'Our priority is to engage local communities. Earlier this month I launched the Drug Action Team Challenge Fund - new funding available to the 105 local teams working with business to tackle drug problems in their own areas. I will be announcing the winning bids from across the country in October.