New UK government drugs strategy on addiction and legal highs: end addiction!

By MrG · Dec 8, 2010 · ·
  1. MrG
    Drug addicts should completely end their addictions rather than just cut their use, the government's new strategy states.

    Ministers said their "drugs-free recovery" policy would include former addicts mentoring current ones.

    The plans could see addicts lose benefits if they do not co-operate.

    The former Labour government's strategy was to reduce the harm caused by drugs by initially stabilising addictions, rather than trying to end them.

    Parts of the strategy will apply to the whole of the UK, but in England ministers want to set up a network of former addicts to help drug users overcome their dependency.

    Under the Home Office plans, treatment and rehabilitation centres would fall under the control of local partnerships which would target the specific needs of communities.

    The strategy outlines the setting up of "Community Recovery Champions" networks where people who have recovered from drug dependency could mentor others who seek their help.

    Ministers said they will also target the supply of drugs in the UK, with a renewed focus on seizing the assets of those involved in the drugs trade, both at home and abroad.

    'Legal highs'
    Prescription-based treatments, such as the heroin-substitute methadone will continue, but it is not yet clear how much funding will be allocated.

    Ministers also want to link drug treatment with welfare benefits in England, Wales and Scotland.

    They launched a consultation paper in August that suggested a "financial benefit sanction" if addicts did not take action to address their substance dependency.

    Powers to temporarily ban 'legal highs' until they are proven to be medically safe will come into effect immediately.

    But Oscar Dagnone, medical director at CRI, an organisation that works with drug addicts, warned against trying to implement a "one-size fits all" anti-drugs policy.

    "We have to focus on the individual. Everyone is different," he said.

    "I have never seen a drugs problem. I have seen people with problems and using drugs to deal with their problems. The issue we have in the UK is we have just been focussing on what we see as 'problematic drug users'. Everyone is in a different situation."

    8 December 2010

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  1. Cooki
    Re: End addiction, new government drugs strategy urges

    Cold Turkey: Drug addicts may face benefit sanctions

    Drug addicts who refuse government support will face losing some of their benefits, under new government plans.

    Ministers announcing the plans to promised a "generational shift" in drug policy "to get people to take responsibility for their actions".
    Rather than the previous 'harm reduction' strategy, the new plans will focus on ending addiction entirely.

    Enforcing drug policy will also be devolved to 'local partnerships' in combination with public health reforms announced last week.
    A Home Office spokesman said: "In a major policy shift, the strategy puts drug -free recovery at the heart of the government's response and puts more responsibility on individuals to seek help and overcome their dependency."

    Crime prevention minister James Brokenshire added: "Today's message is clear. Simply focusing on reducing the harms cause by illicit drug use is no longer enough. We must focus on recovery as the most effective route out of dependency."
    So-called 'legal highs' will undergo immediate temporary bans whiule their effects are investigated, while the government is also setting up a network of 'recovery champions' - former addicts who will act as mentors to those currently in recovery.

    More controversial is the decision to tie in addiction recovery to the benefits system to incentivise people to get clean.

    Public health minister Anne Milton said: "Those who decide to go into treatment will be offered every support to help overcome their addiction, but those who refuse it will face the same benefit sanctions as every other jobseeker."

    8th December 2010$21386142.htm
  2. catseye
  3. Spucky
    AW: End addiction, new government drugs strategy urges

    Do anybody know the Book:
    "The Real Deal
    Drugs policy that works

    from the "Fabian Society"?
  4. catseye
    Re: End addiction, new government drugs strategy urges

    ^^ yes, I have a copy...don't think it's available as an online/pdf though...have you read it, Spucky?
  5. Spucky
    AW: Re: End addiction, new government drugs strategy urges

    Yip, after someone mentioned the Fabians in the "New World Order Thread"
    i collected some Material about them, horrible and disgusting!
  6. catseye
    Re: AW: Re: End addiction, new government drugs strategy urges

    Brilliantly appropriate logo for them. When writing my dissertation I tried several times to meet with John Mann, MP who was behind the rubbish published re heroin addiction in his constituency - oddly enough he was always too busy, even to book me into a public surgery or to meet with me when I offered to travel to Parliament. :thumbsdown:
  7. jeanjeani
    Re: End addiction, new government drugs strategy urges

    And how will these 'champions' be recruited? If they have recovered enough to be in gainful employment, how will they find time to do this? And is it not a threat to their new sober life? Their relatives, friends, neighbous and employers may discover a 'secret past' that the ex-addict has carefully kept where it belongs, in the past. Also how many succesful ex-adicts wanna risk spendins their time with swimmers, possibly subjecting themselves to the very people and contexts that have formerly been associated with the owm drug use & dependency? And what of those who have beaten a habit but remained unemployed and on benefits themselves? Are their livelyhoods also under threat if they feel unable to cooperate? Sounds to me like sending an alcoholic yo work in a brewery. 'Tis folly.
  8. Alfa
    Re: End addiction, new government drugs strategy urges

    Some interesting tidbits from the above document about how the UK government plans to deal with legal highs:

    New psychoactive substances (‘legal highs’)

    UKBA are undertaking enforcement action at the border to target and intercept consignments of these new substances. The Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) is currently developing approaches to identify importers, distributors and sellers of ‘legal highs’ and disrupt their ventures, including activity against websites. We are also introducing technology at the borders to identify these new types of drugs.

    These enforcement activities will be combined with prevention, education and treatment. We will continue to emphasise that, just because a drug is legal to possess, it does not mean it is safe and it is likely that drugs sold as ‘legal highs’ may actually contain substances that are illegal to possess.

    Cracking down on internet sales
    The internet has revolutionised the world and the way we live. However, as well as changing the way we shop, get information and keep in touch it has changed the way that people buy drugs. We are determined to tackle this head on.
    Law enforcement agencies will continue to work against UK based internet providers to ensure that they comply with the letter and spirit of UK law. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) will make full use of legislative controls available under medicines legislation.

    Cutting agents and precursor chemicals
    As enforcement action bites, we know that organised criminals will increasingly look to expand the use of cutting agents to maintain their profits. Over the past ten years, the cocaine sold in the UK at wholesale level (i.e. around 1 kg) has doubled in price to around £50,000 per kg; whilst during the same period, the street dealer level purity has more than halved (from around 50% to 20%)33.
    The purity is further reduced as it reaches the consumer - in some cases to less than 5%34. We will develop a robust approach to stop criminals profiting from the trade in cutting agents and precursor chemicals, working with production countries, the legitimate trade and international partners.

    Strengthened international partnerships
    Working with overseas partners, we will focus enforcement efforts to tackle the international drugs trade, in particular ... new psychoactive substances (‘legal highs’), precursor chemicals and cutting agents from China and India. We will make more effective use of all of the Government’s capabilities overseas, including our diplomatic and military assets, to strengthen co-operation and join up our capacity with international partners to disrupt traffickers at source or in transit countries.
  9. catseye
    Also, regarding legal highs...(bold = my emphasis)

    Does anyone else read this as the gov't will now be able to place legal highs in a temporary holding class and ban them immediately whilst gathering further 'evidence'? Previously, bans were swift - but not 'immediate' :s
  10. Opi8ed
    I guess this means being addicted is no longer a disease? No sane merciful government would ever tell diseased people to just deal with it.

    Can you see government telling cancer patients and others to just suck it up and 'get well?'
  11. missparkles
    Hang on, you just can't equate cancer with addiction. If addiction IS a medical condition its a pseudo med condition. On a par with overeating/obesity that's caused by emotional problems. Lifestyle changes can reverse the effects of both. Lifestyle changes will not cure cancer.

  12. Guttz
    I'm quite sure this will be an enormous failure. This will most likely be their last attempt to try and make things better, when this policy has failed utterly(which it will). They will probably go for a scientific approach or that's what I hope at least. But we'll have to see.
  13. catseye
    The thing is, aside from the shift in rhetoric, there really isn't that much to criticize (apart from the 'legal high' issue which is as clear as mud).
    I'm slightly disappointed that I can't be more outraged :laugh:
    For instance, government has acknowledged the fact that "treatment success has been eroded by the failure to gain stable accommodation or employment" is in itself very positive. There are plans to improve wrap-around support such as housing, employment and benefits for those that need it. MMT and diamorphine prescribing are acknowledged as an important part of the 'recovery' process (and yes, that word makes many cringe, I know). I think problems will arise when funding is localised then the standard of care will drastically vary from one area to another, based on the interests/focus of the people controlling the purse strings. The funding of harm reduction techniques such as needle exchanges is kind of glossed over fear is that attention will slip from the important, tried-and-true methods to new but untested and/or not evidence-based practice :(

    ETA: I have the impact assessment and the equality screening docs that go along with the policy - shall upload them and provide links shortly for those interested.

    Now uploaded :thumbsup:

    Impact Assessment

    Equality Screening
  14. Killa Weigha
    Could ultimately be the only part of the plan that survives. Probably popular at this point in time, especially with police as they will have lots of new toys like the Americans.
  15. phenythylamine
    sense when has methadone ever been concidered a legal high, do they not realize it has virtually no rush and most long-term addicts do not even get a high at all, it just keeps them from getting sick.

    and now Im waiting patiently for there new drug policy to fail and we can all say "I told you so."
  16. Guttz
    Taking a recovery-based approach to drug policy

    The government's new drug strategy focuses on the long-term recovery of users – and getting them back into their communities

    [imgl=white][/imgl]Drug treatment is the best way to tackle the harms caused by drug use. It helps people to overcome dependence, reduces drug use, improves health and reduces offending. Treatment also relieves communities and families from the very serious harms that drugs cause them.

    But treatment can only be the beginning. It is not an end in itself. Long-term treatment is costly and needs wider support to make it effective. In the new drug strategy, the focus is on recovery – making people productive members of society, not just treating their dependence. Not just making them go cold turkey and throwing them back out into their old lives and old ways where drug use is again the norm.

    It's very rare that people turn to drugs out of the blue. Dependence is a product of much wider circumstances. Poor education, poor housing, a chaotic upbringing, low self-esteem, debt, violence – the list goes on.

    There are about 320,000 problem drug-users in England. These are people who use crack and/or heroin and commit crime to fund their habit. Drug dependence in this country costs the taxpayer more than £15bn a year – an appalling human and financial cost.

    So we are very clear that it's not just about treatment and getting people off drugs. We need to focus on giving people a life. Re-integrating them into their families and into better health. Treatment and recovery needs to be personalised. That's why we're going to give local commissioners and local directors of public health the power and the budget to decide how best to help those dependent on drugs in their local population.

    We are creating a new public health service – Public Health England – which will be led by local public health experts and local councils and be funded by a ringfenced budget. This new service will incorporate the work of the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse and will give local people the opportunity to decide their own treatment programmes. We'll expect them to make their local population more healthy, but we won't be telling them how to do it.

    And we're going to start a new programme of drugs recovery pilots. We are going to test ways to incentivise and reward drug treatment providers that help people to recover from their drug dependency and get people into work.

    This is groundbreaking territory for drug treatment. Payment by results for drug recovery programmes has never been developed anywhere in the world.

    That's why we're piloting it – to make sure we iron out any of the inevitable creases. For example, we need to make sure we get the incentives right so people don't cherry pick the easier cases and that treatment providers aren't penalised for taking on the hard cases.

    What's our key aim here? Do we want people to stop taking drugs and live clean lives for ever? I'm very realistic about that. Clearly, our ultimate goal is to enable people to get drug-free – something we know is the aim of the vast majority of people entering drug treatment. And supporting people to live a drug-free life is at the heart of our recovery ambition. But recovery is a unique journey for each drug user. It will mean different things to different people. So I fully acknowledge that substitute-prescribing has a role to play.

    Everyone who wants to improve their lives needs inspiration. So we're introducing a network of community recovery champions – people who have recovered from their drug dependency and will take on a mentoring role to others seeking help. People tell us they are most motivated to start their own recovery journey by seeing people who were in a similar situation and have made progress.

    Recovery – not just treatment, but help getting people who have suffered from drug dependence get back into their communities and being able to contribute to society. That's our aim to help those dependent on drugs, their families and society.

    Andrew Lansley, Wednesday 8 December 2010 18.30 GMT
  17. Guttz
    Coalition shelves plans for 'abstinence-based' drug strategy

    Coalition wants to pay drug treatment agencies 'by result' and while abstinence remains the goal its strategy falls short of demands by the Tory right

    [imgl=white][/imgl]Plans for an "abstinence-based" drug strategy and to cut benefits for problem drug users who refused treatment, which were championed by Iain Duncan Smith and the Tory right, have been shelved.

    The coalition's first official drug strategy, published today, includes plans to pay drug treatment providers "by results", but it acknowledges the difficulties of treating chronic users by talking of "recovery" rather than abstinence.

    The Conservative party manifesto criticised existing programmes, saying too many addicts received treatment that maintained their habit, such as methadone as a heroin substitute.

    The party promised instead to allow courts to use abstinence-based drug rehabilitation orders to "help offenders kick drugs once and for all", but there is no requirement for the rehabilitation to be "abstinence-based" in the strategy.

    The plans for "drug-free wings" in prisons have been renamed as "drug-recovery wings", although they would need to be "abstinence-focused". The justice secretary, Kenneth Clarke, underlined that point last week when he told Tory critics demanding a "drug-free" approach in prisons that simply making problem drug users go "cold turkey" was clinically dangerous. Clarke said he didn't oppose the use of methadone as long as the objective was to get the user off drugs completely.

    James Brokenshire, the Home Office minister responsible for drugs policy, said the new strategy was a major policy shift, putting more responsibility on individuals to seek help and overcome their dependency.

    The document marks a step away from the language of "harm reduction" that has dominated the past 10 years, but it stops far short of the abstinence-based policy demanded by some rightwing Tory thinktanks.

    "There are no quick fixes," said Brokenshire. "Today's focus is clear: simply focusing on reducing the harms caused by illicit drug use is no longer enough – we must focus on recovery as the most effective route out of dependency."

    The Home Office says there are about 320,000 heroin and crack cocaine users in England, of which 170,000 are treated in any one year.

    Drugs policy has been a key social policy dividing line between David Cameron's more socially liberal Conservatives and the Tory right. Earlier proposals to introduce a compulsory residential element of drug treatment appear also to have been postponed.

    There is no new money attached to the strategy but the budget of the National Treatment Agency, which is being absorbed into a new agency, Public Health England, has been ringfenced.

    Six pilot schemes will explore how a payments-by-results system could work. The precise benchmark as to what constitutes recovery – either reducing drug use or total abstinence – has yet to be spelled out. Former addicts would also be promoted as "drug recovery champions", to act as mentors to problem drug users.

    While it contains no proposals to reform the classification system for illegal drugs, it confirms the intention to introduce temporary bans on so-called "legal highs".

    The strategy received a positive response from those who work with problem drug users. Martin Barnes, the chief executive of DrugScope, welcomed the use of the benefit system to support recovery, rather than additional targeted sanctions. "In promoting a recovery agenda the government needs to ensure doors are opened for people wanting to reintegrate into society and get back into work," he said.

    Lord Adebowale, of the charity Turning Point, said: "Abstinence is of course the end goal but there are many paths that can be taken and this should be recognised by the drug treatment system. Harm reduction policies remain important but they must be pursued with an ambition to support people on the journey towards recovery."

    Alan Travis Home affairs editor, Wednesday 8 December 2010 18.40 GMT
  18. Smeg
    I'm just wondering how long it will take this brainless fiasco to fizzle out. The difficulty in knowing this will be hard to ascertain because of our largely biased media misreporting its success ad nauseam.

    Professor Nutt must be spinning in his lab coat.
  19. Terrapinzflyer
    Indeed that is the case- and this was mentioned months ago when the new government was formed and the initial power sharing talks took place. (and first discussed here back in May )

    Indeed- nothing in this thread is new and has all been under talks for many months, and there are previous threads here on virtually every aspect of this, such as Government considers addict benefit changes

    To me, the saddest point of all this is that the talks go on for months and few seem to pay attention, and then profess outrage once its too late...
  20. phenythylamine
    If they really wanted to do something about addiction, they should open up some Ibogaine clinics.

    now that is something addicts would go for, no withdrawls, and get to experience a "high" one last time (Ibogaine is said to be euphoric during the onset.)
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