Britain's new strategy for tackling drugs misuse

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7142.1399 (Published 09 May 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1399

Shows a welcome emphasis on evidence

  1. Michael Farrell, Senior lecturer (m.farrell@iop.bpmf.ac.uk),
  2. John Strang, Director
  1. National Addiction Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, London SE5 8AF

    News p 1411

    The UK government is to be congratulated on the launch of its new drug strategy,1 but probably not for the reasons it might expect. The greatest praise is due not so much for any specific policy proposal—these are rather predictable—but for the discipline and integrity the government has shown in preparing a national drug strategy that is more seriously committed to evidence than to rhetoric. With such a principle established the government is now well positioned to revise the strategy as new evidence becomes available and to advance drug policy in a manner similar to the advancement of evidenced based medicine. In this we hope that the government will establish the same requirements across all sectors—in prevention and enforcement as well as in treatment.

    In 1997-8 the total government drug related expenditure was estimated at £1.4 billion ($2.2 billion), 62% of it spent on enforcement activity.1 Yet the strategy document points out that much of this is reactive and not specific to drugs. The rest of the spending is split, with 13% on treatment, 12% on …

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