Drug dependency is a complex health disorder with social causes and consequences. Recovery from drug dependency can be a long-term process which typically follows a pattern of lapse, relapse and repeated attempts at treatment before sustained recovery can be achieved. Drug treatment keeps people alive by preventing overdose and the spread of blood-borne viruses such as HIV and hepatitis.
In December 2010 the Government published its new Drug Strategy, ‘Reducing Demand, Restricting Supply, Building Recovery: Supporting People to Live a Drug Free Life’, which set out a radically different approach to tackling drugs and the problems they create for society. The strategy outlines a vision for effective prevention, robust enforcement and a full recovery-oriented treatment system.
In March 2012, the Home Office published ‘Putting Full Recovery First’, outlining their roadmap for building a new treatment system based on commitments made in the Drug Strategy.
Against this background, according to the British Crime Survey (BCS) the proportion of young people who have used cannabis in the past year continues to decline from a peak in 1998, whilst use of class A drugs such as cocaine and heroin have declined to a lesser degree. Recent figures from the National Treatment Agency indicate that heroin and crack cocaine are mostly confined to older users. National Health Service surveys also suggest that fewer schoolchildren aged between 11 and 15 are affected by drugs – in 2010 only 18% said they had ever used drugs, an 11% reduction from 2001.
Nevertheless, England still has comparatively high numbers of people experiencing drug problems in the Western world, though it also has one of the highest proportions of these people in treatment, leading the way internationally on drug treatment outcomes work.
This special symposium provides an invaluable opportunity for local drug action teams, health and social care services, NHS and public health specialists and Third Sector practitioners to discuss the latest Government strategy to enable individuals to become free from their dependence, recover fully and live meaningful lives.
- Discuss the Government’s three guiding principles underpinning the drug strategy – wellbeing, citizenship and freedom from dependence
- Explore how effective the new strategy will be in tackling the economic, criminal and social reach of drugs
- Assess the impact of the impending transfer of critical functions from the National Treatment Agency (NTA) to Public Health England
- Examine the new role of local authorities in improving the health and wellbeing of their communities
- Share ideas, experience and opinions on establishing recovery champions at three levels – strategic, therapeutic and community