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Drug strategy will fail without new money, say critics

BMJ 2017; 358 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j3460 (Published 17 July 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j3460
  1. Matthew Limb
  1. London

The government’s plans to reduce illicit drug use and improve rates of recovery from dependence are unlikely to succeed without new investment, as local councils struggle to provide services with reduced budgets, experts have warned.

The new drug strategy, published on 14 July by the home secretary, Amber Rudd, is the first since 2010, but it seems to carry no new funding.1

Rudd will chair a new cross government drug strategy board to oversee a supposedly more balanced approach, designed to ensure that fewer people use drugs in the first place, prevent escalation to more harmful use, and provide more effective, individually tailored treatment options.

She said that coordinated action by the police, health professionals, and local authorities would protect people most at risk of harm, including homeless people, victims of domestic abuse, and people with mental health problems.

“I am determined to confront the scale of this issue and prevent drug misuse devastating our families and communities,” she said.

Drug service specialists have welcomed key elements of the strategy but …

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