The Home Office has launched the UK government’s new drug strategy, which aims to reduce illicit drug use and increase the rate of individuals recovering from drug dependence.
According to the report, research shows that for every £1 spent on treatment, an estimated £2.50 is saved. Each year in the UK, drugs cost society £10.7 billion in policing, healthcare and crime, with drug-fuelled theft alone costing £6 billion a year.
Although drug use among young people is reducing, new threats are emerging including new psychoactive substances such as ‘spice’, image and performance enhancing drugs, ‘chemsex’ drugs and misuse of prescribed medicines.
The new strategy aims to confront these threats and sets out new action to protect the most vulnerable, including people experiencing homelessness, victims of domestic abuse and those with mental health issues.
The new approach brings the police, health and local partners together to support those most at risk. The strategy includes measures to:
- reduce demand: through deterrent work including an expansion of the Alcohol and Drugs Education and Prevention Information Service for young people
- restrict supply: by pursuing a strong law enforcement response and dismantling trafficking networks
- support recovery: a new National Recovery Champion will be appointed to make sure adequate housing, employment and mental health services are available to help people with their recovery
- drive international action: an international strand is included for the first time, setting out action to strengthen controls at our borders, understand global trends and share intelligence
Also published are two previously unreleased documents from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), which advise the Home Secretary at the time of the potential benefits and risks of the Psychoactive Substances 2016.