Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Decriminalise illicit drug use

Government cuts to NHS drug services

BMJ 2018; 363 doi: (Published 27 November 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k4951
  1. Anna E Livingstone, part time general practitioner
  1. Limehouse Practice, Gill Street Health Centre, London E14 8HQ, UK
  1. a.e.livingstone{at}

Bedford Russell bravely told us about her son’s sudden death from heroin.1 I support her calls for decriminalisation of use, much better access to integrated mental health services, and a health based government strategy for care.

In England and Wales, age standardised heroin and morphine related mortality more than doubled between 2011 and 2015, from 10.3 to 21.3 per million, and in 2017 was still 20.5.2

Many reasons have been proposed.3 The government’s drug service targets …

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