Turning Point responds to new Drug Strategy, out today

News item posted: 14 July 2017

Responding to the release of the ten year drug strategy, Turning Point’s Managing Director for Public Health Mark Shepperd said:

“Turning Point welcomes the release of the new Drug Strategy today, especially as we face changing trends in people’s drug and alcohol use. People continue to use New Psychoactive Substances despite criminalisation last year; there is an increasing number of people using image- and performance-enhancing drugs; and an ageing population of heroin and crack users has resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of deaths as a result of drug misuse since 2012.

“We welcome the emphasis on equity of access for a range of people with differing needs and recognition of those with the most complex needs, people with a dual diagnosis – defined as someone with two or more co-existing needs – as well as wider population based interventions. We also welcome the emphasis on supporting people through peer support or recognising the centrality of housing and employment to a sustained recovery.

“Mental health is a key theme throughout the strategy, recognising that mental health and substance misuse are strongly interlinked. Partnership working with other agencies is important in order to develop resilience among young people, families, homeless people, serving military personnel and veterans.

“The establishment of a drugs strategy board overseen by the Home Secretary should bring a much needed focus on drugs treatment and help support local areas to ensure they are delivering safe and effective services. The focus on transparency of commissioning is also welcome and recognises the vulnerability of drugs treatment to local funding arrangements. It is essential that if basic standards of good treatment are to be maintained that there is monitoring of local spending on drugs treatment.

“We hope the emphasis on data collection and evidence-based support will highlight that investment in drugs services helps not only to save lives, but also to reduce the financial impact on the NHS, local authorities and the criminal justice system.”