Government launches second phase of independent review into drug misuse

Thursday July 2nd, 2020

The second part of a major independent review by Professor Dame Carol Black into the misuse of illegal drugs in England has launched today.Government Opportunities

Professor Dame Carol Black to lead next stage of the independent review into the misuse of drugs

Second phase to consider the provision of treatment and recovery services for drug users, as well as a focus on how to prevent the misuse of drugs among adults and young people

Review findings will feed into wider government work to tackle the serious harms caused by substance misuse

Building on an initial phase commissioned by the Home Office, the next stage of the review will focus on treatment, recovery and prevention. The overarching aim will be to ensure that vulnerable people with substance misuse problems get the support they need to recover and turn their lives around in the community and in prison.

The review will consider how treatment services can enable people with a drug dependency to achieve and sustain their recovery – spanning a wide range of services they may interact with across mental health, housing, employment and the criminal justice system.

Professor Dame Carol Black has been appointed to lead the review following her initial report commissioned by the Home Office, which looked at the challenges around drug supply and demand. Her initial report found that:

drug deaths are at an all-time high

the market has become much more violent
drugs are costing society billions of pounds every year

The review will make policy recommendations to government, including around funding, as well how services are commissioned and local bodies are held accountable to ensure they are effective in preventing, treating and supporting recovery from drug problems.

Part one of the independent review found children and young people are now more likely to experiment with drugs after years of decline, and so the second phase will include a specific focus to make recommendations on prevention and treatment services for this age group.

As part of the next phase of the review, Dame Carol has launched a call for evidence and will engage with a wide range of stakeholders, including hearing from service users and people with lived experience of drug addiction to build a detailed picture of treatment, recovery and prevention.

Dame Carol will be provided with expert support from:

Dr Ed Day, an NHS substance misuse consultant and government drug recovery champion

Dr Keith Humphreys, a US academic and former drug policy advisor to President Obama with substantial expertise in this field and an international perspective

Dame Carol is expected to submit initial recommendations in September and her final report in December this year.

The terms of reference for the review and call for evidence will be live on GOV.UK in due course. The call for evidence will close on Thursday 30 July.

The government is already responding to Dame Carol’s findings with further investment to significantly increase the law enforcement response to county lines and the recruitment of 20,000 extra police officers over the next 3 years.

The government has pledged to address the complex challenges caused by drug misuse, with a cross-government addiction strategy due to be published in early 2021.

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