It ’ s up to us to make sure the recommendations of Dame Carol Black ’ s review are implemented , say Vivienne Evans , Oliver Standing , Stuart Green , Chris Lee and Danny Hames
Roman Milert / Alamy
In her closing remarks at the launch of the second part of her landmark Independent review of drugs , Dame Carol Black summed up the current situation for people experiencing drug dependency with these words : ‘ We could simply do so much better ’.
When the latest drug-related deaths figures were published it was sadly a surprise to nobody that deaths had again increased – up 3.8 per cent from the previous year , and an appalling 60 per cent over the last decade . Shockingly this year ’ s figures for alcohol deaths reached over 7,400 , up 19.6 per cent from the previous year and constituting the highest number of deaths in 20 years .
Whatever we are doing as a society simply isn ’ t working well enough . More and more people are dying , and more and more families are left broken and bereaved . But there can now be little doubt that the opportunity for change has well and truly arrived in the form of Dame Carol ’ s review , which lays out a roadmap for a whole system renewal for treatment , recovery and prevention . With the announcement of the results of the
government ’ s autumn Spending Review on the mid-horizon , now is the time to keep our collective foot on the pedal .
Our field is a complex world , but one that is enriched by its diversity of voices . No one person or organisation can claim to have all the answers to the challenges we face or to speak for the full range of experiences of people with addictions . That is why our organisations – Adfam , Collective Voice , the College of Lived Experience Organisations ( CLERO ), the English Substance Use Commissioners Group and the NHS Addictions Provider Alliance – have come together at this crucial time to advocate collectively for change . Although we can ’ t ( and don ’ t ) claim to represent every person in our field we do represent some of the core building blocks of the treatment and recovery system , from grassroots and lived experience organisations to family support , service providers and local government serviceshapers and budget holders .
Dame Carol ’ s review has provided us with both the outline of a route to success , and a means of measuring that success . It is
22 • DRINK AND DRUGS NEWS • SEPTEMBER 2021 WWW . DRINKANDDRUGSNEWS . COM