Report recommends that UK Government abandon strategy pursued for the last decade


The UK Home Office has published Part Two of Dame Carol Black’s Independent Review of Drugs. The report deals with prevention and treatment services and there are interesting parallels with recent developments in Scotland.

In a radical departure from a long-established conservative perspective, the report acknowledges that drug problems require long-term treatment and support and notes that ‘discharge after short-term treatment is currently used as a measure of success, but (this) should be stopped, as it ignores the fundamental relapsing and remitting nature of the condition.’

This flags a significant departure from UK government strategy since 2010 which has focussed on ‘supporting people to live a drug free life’.

The report recommends the reversing of the disinvestment in services in England which has occurred over several years.

People require somewhere safe to live and something meaningful to do alongside treatment and the report calls for inter-government departmental action to improve treatment, employment, housing support and the way that people with addictions are treated in the criminal justice system.

The report identifies the need for leadership and recommends that the UK Prime Minister appoint a single, responsible minister on drug policy to hold all of government to account, supported by a central team to monitor and report upon relevant outcomes.

Greater co-ordination and accountability at national and local level, where responsibility sits for the delivery of drug treatment and wider outcomes is required. The report also recommends the ringfencing of central government funding disbursed to local authorities to ensure they work with wider health, employment support, housing and criminal justice partners to develop joint commissioning plans and that they be held to account for these plans and their outcomes.

The full report is available by clicking here.

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