Government launches second phase of Carol Black review

The second part of Professor Dame Carol Black’s independent review into illegal drug use in England has now been launched, the government has announced. While the initial phase looked at drug supply and demand, the second will study treatment provision, recovery services and prevention.

Prof Carol Black: An opportunity to correct ‘a decade-long erosion’.

The review will look at how drug treatment interacts with housing, employment, mental health and criminal justice services, with the overarching aim of ensuring that vulnerable people get the right support to ‘recover and turn their lives around in the community and in prison’. The final document will contain policy recommendations to government, including around funding, commissioning and how local bodies are held accountable to ‘ensure they are effective’. The review’s first phase concluded that even if more money were made available for drug treatment, there would still be ‘a lot of work to do’ to build up capacity and expertise in the sector (DDN, March, page 4).

The second phase will engage with a ‘wide range of stakeholders’ including service users and people with ‘lived experience of drug addiction’ to build a detailed picture of treatment, recovery and prevention, the government states. Professor Black will be supported by government recovery champion Dr Ed Day (DDN, June 2019, page 8) and former drug policy adviser to president Obama, Dr Keith Humphreys (DDN, June 2012, page 16).

‘In my foreword to part one I said that behind the thorough analysis of the market for illicit drugs that we had just completed lay a very tragic human story – about the effect on individuals, their families, youngsters caught up in the trade, and the economy,’ said Professor Black. ‘We showed a decade-long erosion, under previous governments, in almost every aspect of drug addiction, prevention, treatment and recovery. We now have the opportunity to correct this and build a better world. To do this many stakeholders and government departments must work together as never before.’

‘The findings of Dame Carol’s first review set out the scale of the challenge,’ added health minister Jo Churchill. ‘Now our focus must shift to ensuring the appropriate services are in place to support the treatment and recovery of drug users, as well as preventing drug use in our communities in the first place.’