Drink and Drugs News DDN April 2020 (1) - Page 12

POLICY NEXT STEPS Dame Black has spoken loud and clear. How policy makers respond will be crucial, says Oliver Standing A perception that ongoing increases in drug-related deaths constitute a serious failure of public policy and/ or political leadership. We must harness the sense of outrage and urgency that many of us feel to bring about change. So, in that spirit, I want to point to some more positive policy developments that may help build the necessary momentum to make that change happen. Though the last Conservative manifesto was light on detail around drug and alcohol treatment, a subsequent addendum was published laying out plans to tackle addiction. This included two crucial pledges – to introduce a combined addictions strategy and a ‘dedicated monitoring unit at the heart of government’. Collective Voice welcomes both commitments. The addictions strategy should address the public health emergency of drug-related deaths by outlining a clear plan to enable local authorities to fund and deliver effective, evidence-based and t the recent Glasgow drugs summit Dame Carol Black shared a number of truths many readers will be sadly all too familiar with. Drug problems spring up in areas of poverty and social exclusion; successful treatment and recovery is contingent on effective, coordinated support around housing, mental health and criminal justice; and when people leave prison they often miss out on the vital support they need. She also reminded delegates that our world-class treatment and recovery has been eroded and fragmented by austerity and localism. Some commentators may look at the Glasgow summits and conclude that no concrete political outputs were agreed. At a time when drug-related deaths and other visible manifestations of extreme inequality such as rough sleeping are on the rise this is understandable, as is the 12 • DRINK AND DRUGS NEWS • APRIL 2020 WWW.DRINKANDDRUGSNEWS.COM