UK – 2017 Drug Strategy

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The 2017 Drug Strategy

18th July 2017  Alcohol & Drugs No Comments

The seven year itch

After seven years, England finally (published on 13 July 2017) has a new Drug Strategy simply, if somewhat strangely entitled “2017 Drug Strategy”. Although some parts of the strategy apply to other parts of Great Britain, the healthcare, education, housing and social care strategies apply only to England and the criminal justice ones only to England and Wales.

The strategy is similar to many of its predecessors and announces no new radical change of direction despite an international growth in opposition to the war in drugs over the last decade with a growing number of countries who have either legalised or are planning to legalise at least cannabis use in some form or other.

Despite calls for drugs to be treated primarily as a health issue, the Home Office retains ownership of the drug strategy and will chair a newmulti-departmental Drug Strategy Board. The strategy says that a new national Recovery Champion will be introduced (which I guess, is the 2017 term for Drug Czar) who will sit on the board with a remit to:

  • provide a national leadership role around key aspects of the recovery agenda that support sustained recovery, in partnership with PHE;
  • support collaboration between local authorities, public employment services and the Health and Work Programme, housing, criminal justice agencies, and other partners;
  • seek to address the stigma faced by people with drug or alcohol dependency issues; and
  • act as a ministerial envoy visiting different communities, providers and local recovery champions.

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