Adfam, Collective Voice, English Substance Use Commissioners Group and NHS Addictions Provider Alliance look at how Dame Carol Black’s Review of the UK’s drug policies represents an opportunity to renew and reset the treatment and recovery system.
As organisations which see the impacts of drugs and alcohol on people, families and communities on a daily basis, we have come together to advocate collectively for change.
We welcome the scope and ambition of Dame Carol Black’s Review which represents the best chance to reset and renew our treatment and recovery system in over a decade. Dame Carol has engaged with our field with admirable rigour and heard the many challenges brought about by the profound disinvestment of recent years – as well as the passion, skill and tenacity used to support thousands of people every year into recovery.
It offers an evidence-based, person-centred response to drug and alcohol addiction, laying out the full array of challenges facing people with drug and alcohol problems. We commend the author’s wide focus on the inter-connected systems which support people with drug and alcohol problems. Efforts to address ‘addiction’ without work with partners in criminal justice, health, homelessness and mental and physical health fields are futile. The recommendation of increased funding for young people’s services is welcome, however we do believe there should be wider recognition of the harms to others, including children, drug and alcohol problems can bring. Families deserve recognition as a vital source of recovery capital but, equally, require support in their own right.
We wholly endorse the Review’s call for strong, sustained local and national political leadership. The proposed Drugs Unit should be created as soon as possible and used to bring together the six key departments of state with a crystal-clear structure of accountability and action. This must be mirrored at the local level through the health, justice and crime partnership mentioned.
Compassion and political leadership are essential ingredients – but so is funding. Our field has lost more than one pound in every four since 2013 with a proven association with falls in numbers entering and completing treatment. Real impact requires real investment – Dame Carol is right to make a call for major, sustained and protected investment over the next five years. With the right resource we can together support many more people (and their families) into recovery and help deliver the Government’s commitments to levelling up our poorest areas.
Vivienne Evans, chief executive, Adfam
Oliver Standing, director, Collective Voice
Chris Lee, chair, English Substance Use Commissioners Group
Danny Hames, chair, NHS Addictions Provider Alliance
Read the full blog post here.
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