UK Government launches second phase of independent review into drug misuse

  • 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

Health Minister Jo Churchill said:

Drug misuse can have a tragic impact on people's health, families and livelihoods, causing suffering to all those involved.

With drug deaths at an all-time high, we must tackle the root causes of substance misuse to improve health outcomes and prevent lives being lost needlessly.

The findings of Dame Carol's first review set out the scale of the challenge. Now our focus must shift to ensuring the appropriate services are in place to support the treatment and recovery of drug users, as well as preventing drug use in our communities in the first place.

I look forward to receiving Dame Carol's recommendations and working with others on the solutions.

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.

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