Intended for healthcare professionals


UK must act to reduce harm from drug misuse

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: (Published 04 December 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l6748
  1. Maggie Rae, president
  1. Faculty of Public Health, London, UK
  1. president{at}
  2. I thank members of the Faculty of Public Health drugs special interest group for their comments.

Government urgently needs to invest in treatment services and harm reduction measures

Two House of Commons select committees have recently produced reports on problematic drug use and drug related deaths.12 The Health and Social Care Committee (HSCC) and the Scottish Affairs Committee (SAC) both highlight factors that are associated with progression to problematic drug use and addiction: material and social deprivation, adverse childhood experiences, and poor mental health. The SAC report calls for the UK government to tackle economic inequalities and poverty as drivers of problematic drug use and for substantially increased levels of investment in support for early years, mental health services, and other interventions aiming to improve the life chances of the most disadvantaged members of our society.

Role for health departments

Both reports recommended that drug strategy should be led by government health departments. The Faculty of Public Health and the Royal Society for Public Health joint response to the recent Office for National Statistics data on …

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