This week saw the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Midlands, David Jamieson release recommendations for local drug policy. Following a consultation summit eight recommendations were outlined in an effort to further reduce harm and crime locally:
• Diverting people away from the Criminal Justice System
• Regional Drug Interventions Programme
• Heroin Assisted Treatment
• Drugs Early Warning Programme
• Safety testing of drugs in night time districts or festivals
• Naloxone provision
• Drug Consumption Rooms
• Taking money from organised criminals to improve drug services
As the leading drug and alcohol charity in neighbouring Staffordshire, ADS welcomes any review of approaches to addiction and substance misuse to ensure we are continually making progress for those affected.
There is a growing body of evidence that suggests health and social interventions with harm reduction focussed treatment is the most effective. For too long addiction has been seen through the eyes of the criminal justice system and vulnerable people are vilified by negative stereotypes. We feel that treating people with dignity and respect through health and psychosocial methods can help to end the stigma and better integrate people back into the community.
The more people who have training and access to naloxone, the more overdose related deaths we can prevent. We really hope this recommendation can be adopted nationally.
Drug consumption rooms won’t become a reality without central government support and unfortunately, acceptance of this widely successful model still appears to be a distant possibility in the UK.
We are concerned that debates on drug policy get shut down all too often because of outdated views on how to approach treatment. ADS recognise how much more work needs to be done to improve understanding and awareness of addiction and those affected. We continue striving to provide the best services possible based on well-evidenced and compassionate approaches.
ADS welcomes the opening of this debate to review approaches to addiction and substance misuse and look forward to playing our part in improvements locally and nationally.
Read the full report here.