We welcome long-term Drug Strategy that signals a new era for treatment

Change Grow Live, the UK’s largest provider of treatment services, today strongly backed the new approach to treatment in the Government’s new 10-year Drug Strategy and called for a renewed focus on the needs of people who use drugs when the strategy is implemented.

With drug-related deaths at an all-time high and frontline services facing rising demand, Change Grow Live said that the needs of people who use drugs must be prioritised if the strategy is to achieve its aims.

The Government-wide strategy implements the key recommendations laid out in the second part of Dame Carol Black’s landmark review of drugs in July, which argued for wholesale change to the approach to drug treatment.

Mark Moody, Chief Executive of Change Grow Live, welcomed the new approach to treatment in the 10-year Drug Strategy:

“We welcome the major step forward that this strategy signals for the long-term future of drug treatment and harm reduction. We back the strategy’s acknowledgment that addiction must be treated as a chronic health condition. This is a significant breakthrough for drug treatment and a critical first step in removing the stigma that prevents people from walking through the door of treatment services.

And we welcome the new investment to rebuild drug treatment and increase capacity by 54,500 high-quality treatment places. We also back the ambition to see the full range of evidence-based harm reduction and treatment services available for all those that need them in every community, starting with the most deprived areas, which are disproportionately affected by drug use.

But to be successful, the needs of people who use drugs must be prioritised when it is put into practice, and we must ensure that some of the proposed compliance and enforcement measures don’t put people off seeking help.

The success of this strategy depends in large part on the people who deliver treatment and recovery services, from psychiatrists to caseworkers and volunteers, so we welcome new funding to attract people to jobs in the sector, to support better training for them, and to keep caseloads manageable.

Today is just the start. As Dame Carol Black noted, people who use drugs have been ignored and marginalised for too long by policymakers. We look forward now to working closely with the Government and all our partners to put the needs of people who use drugs at the heart of this new approach over the next decade.

If we do this, we can bring about genuine change to drug treatment and harm reduction that will benefit us all, in communities up and down the country.”