We back Dame Carol Black’s call for change in drug treatment

Change Grow Live has responded to Dame Carol Black’s Review of Drugs – Part 2.

Today we:

  • back Dame Carol Black’s call for a step-change in the approach to drug use in the UK, and 
  • urge the Government to develop a new multi-agency strategy.      

Dame Carol Black’s independent report on drugs calls for a radical change in the UK’s approach to drug use.

She argues for a renewed collective commitment to tackling drug use; better coordination across Government departments; an emphasis on vulnerable young people; more effective support for people who are often stigmatised, and a spending review cash injection for depleted services.

We support Dame Carol Black’s conclusions and welcome the Cross-Government Joint Combating Drugs Unit.

A new multi-agency approach to drug treatment is needed, including:

  • Recognition that drug dependency is a chronic health condition, but one that must be integrated with mental health services, criminal justice pathways and housing support
  • A new definition of recovery that is not limited to abstinence but recognises other measures of success     
  • Less fragmentation of treatment services so that more people can access recovery in the areas where it is needed
  • Better accountability for services, to ensure treatment is easy to access, easy to stay in and easy to get out of
  • Minimum five-year contracting cycles and a new approach to commissioning that brings statutory services and treatment providers together to deliver stable services for people who need them.

Mark Moody, our chief executive, is calling for a new approach:

“Dame Carol is right that we need urgent change. The current situation is intolerable and the people who use our services, the communities they live in, and ultimately the whole country pay the price.

We urge the government to come forward with a new strategy.

As stated in the review, for every £1 spent on treatment, we save £4 on costs of other services. A new strategy, backed by ring-fenced spending review investment, must do three things.

It must make sure effective, evidence-based treatment is available everywhere that it is needed so we can support more people.

It must have new measures of success. Recovery is much more than total abstinence. For some people, success is no longer using illicit drugs, stabilising their lives and keeping their families together. For others, success is about getting a job or going back to education.

And it must get commissioning right. We want to see an end to fragmentation of services and short-termism. All the organisations involved must come together to put stable local services in place where they are needed.”

We have the evidence about what gets people into treatment, what keeps them there and what works in the long-term. A new strategy is urgently needed to put this into practice everywhere in the UK.

Collectively, we must make a step change in treatment.”

Read the full blog post here.

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We are proud to work in partnership with many of the leading charities and treatment providers in the sector.

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