The government has appointed Dame Carol Black as an independent advisor on drug misuse and will publish a new drug strategy later this year.
Dame Carol, a doctor and former president of the Royal College of Physician’s recently published an independent review on drugs, which exposed the scale of the challenge of illegal drug misuse and made clear that a joined-up approach across all parts of government is needed to tackle this issue.
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‘Drugs inflict serious and increasing harm on society and, as my review shows, the provision of services for those addicted requires a reformed whole-system approach,’ said Dame Carol.
‘I am pleased that the government have signalled their intention to prioritise this by establishing the Joint cross-Government Unit which was one of my recommendations. I am also delighted to have been given the opportunity to continue to advise the government which shows that they want to put treatment, recovery and prevention at the heart of the upcoming strategy. I will use this role to keep holding all partners to account and to support efforts to combat the drugs that ruin so many lives.’
Further measures set out in the government response include delivering telemedicine in 86 prisons with £1.3 million of funding to enable prisoners to make contact with treatment providers in the community and continue the treatment they need to help them stay away from crime after their release. Additionally, 10 health and justice partnership coordinator roles across the probation service will be established with £700,000 of funding in order to improve continuity of care from custody to the community.
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‘Drug misuse can have a tragic impact on people’s health, their families and their livelihoods,’ said Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid.
‘Not only is the sale and use of drugs driving serious violence but drug-related deaths are at an all-time high. It is heart-breaking to see so many people needlessly losing their lives. I am committed to tackling the root causes of substance misuse and working with Dame Carol to ensure high quality services are in place to support the treatment and recovery of drug users in the community.’