- Professor David Nutt on Welcome to the Drug Strategy blog!
- Paul Taylor on Welcome to the Drug Strategy blog!
- Hester Brown on Welcome to the Drug Strategy blog!
- Sheryl Dago, service manager for Addaction Derby on A further update from David Oliver
- John Taylor on Guest Post from Nigel Kirby - Head of Drugs Intelligence (SOCA)
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A further update from David Oliver
Posted on March 15, 2011 18:20
As we go into week two of piloting this Drug Strategy blog, I’m really pleased that you’re using it to share your views and ideas across a range of issues that come up in your day to day work. I want to use my post today to respond to some of the themes that have cropped up a few times and I’ll start with a question a number of you have raised about why the strategy refers to drugs and alcohol separately.
We know that alcohol misuse accounts for more health problems, as well as being a driver in crime and disorder. The means by which alcohol is regulated is embedded in historical tradition and the tolerance of responsible consumption; and the licensing controls remain acceptable to the vast majority of people. The way in which we regulate alcohol therefore remains distinct from the method by which we control illicit drugs.
But that doesn’t mean we don’t recognise that a number of you working in the sector deal with the problems caused by both drugs and alcohol. Far from it. In a major step forward the new drug strategy makes it clear that severe alcohol dependence raises similar issues as drug dependency and the commitment to deal with both runs through the Building Recovery section of the strategy. In addition, the new strategy makes it is clear that young people need high quality drug and alcohol education. All this already and a new alcohol strategy still to come!
The Payment by Results approach has also featured in your posts and you’ve identified some of the very same issues that the pilots will face. This is a challenging area in which to deliver payments by outcomes but that does not mean we should not aim to make improvements for this group. The pilots, co-designed with local areas, will look to test whether payments to providers made on the basis of the outcomes achieved help individuals achieve sustained recovery. If the pilots prove to be successful we will look at the best ways to encourage local areas to adopt this approach.
There have also been posts about the medicinal use of cannabis. Some of these comment on the availability of Sativex, which is a cannabis based medicine. To clarify the situation, Sativex can be prescribed under Home Office licence by a GP based on their professional, clinical opinion.
Finally, a number of you are asking how we intend to evaluate the impact of the Drug Strategy. I want to reassure you that work to develop an evaluation framework to assess the effectiveness and value for money of the Drug Strategy is already underway. The Government has also set out the need for greater transparency across its operations to enable the public to hold public bodies and politicians to account. This includes commitments relating to public expenditure, intended to help achieve better value for money.
I look forward to hearing more from you.
David Oliver, Head of Drugs and Alcohol.