All controlled drugs are harmful and will remain illegal the home
secretary David Blunkett reaffirmed today as he published an updated
Educating young people about the dangers of drugs, preventing drug
misuse, combatting the dealers and treating addicts are the key
elements of the strategy. A major increase in direct annual funding
will underpin the government's commitment to tackle drugs and the
harm they cause. Funding will increase from a planned£1.026bn
in this financial year, to£1.244bn in the next financial year,
rising to a total annual spend of nearly£1.5bn in the year
starting April 2005.
A significant proportion of the funding will be targeted on getting
drug-using offenders into treatment. Every opportunity from arrest,
to court, to sentence, to parole will be used to get offenders into
treatment and out of trouble.
Starting from next year in the highest crime areas with the worst
drugs problems the government will roll out a comprehensive end to
end approach. This will ensure that every drug addicted offender is identified through drug testing at the point of arrest and charge and given the a stark
choice at their bail hearing of entering treatment rather than
entering custodyget into treatment or face custody. All this will be
backed up by extra resources for arrest referral, drug treatment and
testing orders, treatment in prison and YOIs and for post-release
treatment and support for those leaving custody.
As well as the impact on crime, drug misuse has dire consequences for
the health of individuals, their families and society as a whole.
That is why the secretary of state for health established the
National Treatment Agency (NTA) last year to increase the provision
and quality of drug treatment. The NTA is concentrating on ensuring
that appropriate treatment is available for everyone who needs it and
that waiting times for treatment are reduced.
The updated strategy, promised when the home secretary delivered his
response to the home affairs select committee in July, is based on
what works best to deal with drug problems. It includes:
* A tougher focus on Class A drugs.
* New cross-regional police 'hit squads' to break-up middle drug
markets, the link in the chain between traffickers and local dealers.
* A stronger focus on the 250,000 Class A drug users with the most
severe problems who account for 99% of the costs of drug abuse.
* Better targeting, focussing on the communities with the greatest
* Expansion of treatment services tailored to individual need,
including residential treatment where appropriate and reduced waiting
* New improved treatment for crack and cocaine users, heroin
prescribing for all those who would benefit from it and more harm
minimisation - with improved access to GP medical services. Funding
for treatment services, including prisons, will increase by£45m in the next financial year,£54m for the year starting from April 2004 and£115m from April 2005. This will be boosted by treatment funding associated with Drug Treatment and
Testing Orders of nearly£10m in the next financial year,£12m in the year starting from April 2004 and£16m from April 2005 - bringing the total direct annual spend on treatment up to£589m by 2005.
* An innovative advertising campaign, to be launched in the Spring to
educate the young about the dangers of drugs and prevent them from
falling into drug misuse.
* More support for parents, carers and
families so they can easily access advice, help, counselling and
mutual support, expanded outreach and community treatment for
vulnerable young people.
* Improved services in those communities
affected by crack, fast track crack treatment programmes in the worst
affected areas and new police initiatives to close crack markets.
* New aftercare and throughcare services to improve community access to
treatment and ensure that people leaving prison and treatment avoid
the revolving door back into addiction and offending.
The Home Office will be working with the Strategy Unit at Number 10
to review the impact of enforcement work on the drug supply chain
from international production to distribution in the UK so that work
can be focused where it will do the most damage to drug dealers.
Announcing the updated strategy David Blunkett said:
'All controlled drugs are harmful and will remain illegal. The misery
caused by the use of drugs and hard drugs that kill cannot be
under-estimated. It damages the health and life chances of
individuals; it undermines family life, tears apart communities and
turns law-abiding citizens into thieves. We will maintain our focus
on Class A drugs as they cause the most harm. We must achieve real
reductions in the level of problematic use if we are to turn around
the lives of individuals and their communities.
'This updated drug strategy is a chance to build on what we have
learnt. Education, prevention, minimising harm, treatment and
effective policing are our most powerful tools in dealing with drugs.
'Young people are our highest priority. They need good quality drug
education, information and advice based on a credible assessment of
the damage drugs do.
'The best place for drug using offenders is in treatment and out of
trouble. Presumption against bail is tough love - accept the
treatment on offer or face custody.
'We are not starting from scratch. We are learning from, building on,
and adapting the 10-year strategy adopted in 1998. If we are to
succeed, we must have continuity, persistence and the determination
to make a real difference. Future generations should never have to
face the dangers and harm that drugs present to too many of our young
people, their families and their communities today.'
Health secretary Alan Milburn said:
'I welcome this opportunity to build on the success of the 1998 Drug
Strategy. The revised strategy shows that we are currently on track
to meet our target of increasing the number of drug misusers in
treatment through developing better quality treatment programmes and
more of them. Reducing drug use is a key Government priority and my
department remains committed to ensuring that the significant funds
being allocated are targeted at the areas where the need is
The new drug strategy updates the 1998 strategy and is being
published alongside research about levels and costs of drug use.
The Home Office today published the 'Updated Drug Strategy 2002' (see here).
The Home Office also published:
Home Office Research Study: 'The road to ruin sequences of
initiation into drugs use and offending by young people in Britain'
by Stephen Pudney, University of Leicester.
Home Office Research study 249 'The Economic and Social costs of
class A drug use in England and Wales.' Christine Godfrey et al.
Home Research Finding 182 'Key findings on prevalence of drug use
from the 2001/2 British Crime Survey.'
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland use their devolved powers where
appropriate to formulate policies that complement the overall aims of
the UK strategy. Anti-drug strategies in Scotland, Wales and Northern
Ireland deal with drug-related problems specific to them. All three
strategies reflect the same four aims as the UK strategy, relating to
young people, reducing supply, communities and treatment, but with
specific objectives and action priorities tailored to the particular
problems and circumstances in each country.
Presumption against bail is set out in clause 16 of the Criminal
Direct annual funding to tackle drugs will increase from #1.026
billion in this financial year to #1.244 billion in the next
financial year, #1.344 billion in the year starting April 2004 and a
total annual spend of nearly #1.5 billion in the year starting April
Treatment expenditure figures include the pooled treatment budget,
prison service treatment and mainstream spending.
KEY FEATURES OF THE UPDATED DRUG STRATEGY:
A tougher focus on Class A drugs. The misery caused by the use of
crack, cocaine, heroin and ecstasy cannot be underestimated.
A stronger focus on education, prevention, enforcement and treatment
to prevent and tackle problematic drug use. The 250,000 class A drug
users with the most severe problems who account for 99% of the costs
of drug abuse in England and Wales and do most harm to themselves,
their families and communities.
More resources. - Planned direct annual expenditure for tackling
drugs will rise from #1.026 billion in this financial year to #1.244
billion in the next financial year, #1.344 billion in the year
starting April 2004 to a total annual spend of nearly #1.5 billion in
the year starting April 2005 - an increase of 44%. New areas of spend
More support for parents, carers and families so they can easily
access advice, help, counselling and mutual support, a new education
campaign for young people based on credible information of the harm
which drugs cause, increased outreach and community treatment for
vulnerable young people and expanded testing and referrals into
treatment within the youth justice system so that by 2006 we will be
able to provide support to 40-50,000 vulnerable young people a year.
Reducing the availability of drugs on the streets through new
cross-regional teams to tackle 'middle markets' - the link in the
chain from traffickers to local dealers, targeted policing to crack
down on crack, and increased assistance to the Afghan Government to
achieve their aim of reducing opium production with a view to
eliminating it by 2013. A review of the impact of interventions on
the drug supply chain from international production to distribution
within the UK by the Government's Strategy Unit working with the Home
Office and other key departments.
Further expansion of treatment services appropriate for individual
need reduced waiting times, improved treatment for crack and cocaine,
heroin prescribing for all those who would benefit from it and more
harm minimisation - with improved access to GP medical services. By
2008, we will have the capacity to treat 200,000 problematic drug
A major expansion of services within the criminal justice system
using every opportunity from arrest, to court, to sentence, to get
drug misusing offenders into treatment - including expanded testing,
improved referrals, and new and expanded community sentences. By
March 2005, we will have doubled the number of Drug Treatment and
New aftercare and throughcare services to improve community access to
treatment and ensure those leaving prison and treatment avoid the
revolving door back into addiction and offending. By April 2005, all
drug action teams will have a co-ordinated system of aftercare in
Better targeting: focussing on the communities with the greatest
We will be strengthening capacity to deliver in those areas which
have the greatest problems. Although services will be rolled out
across the country we will be piloting and developing new services
for young people and new interventions within the criminal justice
system, first in the areas of greatest need.
We will improve services in those communities affected by crack. The
action plan on crack will lead to fast track crack treatment
programmes in the worst affected areas, new police initiatives to
close crack markets and new diversionary programmes for young people.
A renewed emphasis on delivery and revised targets which are
challenging but achievable: reducing the use of the most dangerous
drugs and patterns of drug use by young people, with a particular
focus on the most vulnerable; tackling prevalence through a three
pronged attack on supply, dealers and traffickers, and assets, and on
working with the Afghan government to reduce opium supply; reducing
drug related crime; and continuing to expand drug treatment but also
improving its quality.
STATISTICS ON DRUG USE, SMOKING AND DRINKING AMONG YOUNG
Full results from a major national survey of drug misuse, smoking and
drinking among secondary schoolchildren aged 11-15 are published
This survey, commissioned by the Department of Health and funded by
the Home Office, was carried out by the National Centre for Social
Research and the National Foundation for Educational Research among
more than 9,000 pupils in 285 schools in England during Autumn 2001.
The key findings from this survey were made public in March 2002.
The full report includes information on the following:
- prevalence of drug use, smoking and drinking among young people
- social and educational factors
- attitudes towards drug use
- awareness and knowledge of drugs
- where respondents get drugs from and who they take them with
- family attitudes to drug use
- drug use among pupils' peers
- acceptability of drug taking, smoking and drinking
- reasons for taking or not taking drugs
- relationships between smoking, drinking and drug misuse.
Notes to editors
1. Press Copies of the Summary, 'Drug Use, Smoking and Drinking among
Young People in 2001' are available from: the Department of Health
Press Office, tel 020 7210 5435, as are copies of the main report.
Both will also be available as soon as practical after 9.30am on 3rd
December 2002 on the Department of Health's web site www.doh.gov.uk,
and from the Stationary Office, tel: 0870 600 5522. This report
follows the publication of key results on 15 March 2002, which can be
found on the internet at
2. This is the latest in a series of national surveys of secondary
school children aged 11-15 in England. The first survey in the series
was carried out in 1982 to provide estimates of the proportion of
pupils who smoked and to describe the smoking behaviour of those who
did smoke. Similar surveys were carried out every two years until
1998 to monitor trends in the prevalence of cigarette smoking.
Questions on alcohol consumption were included for the first time in
the 1988 survey, and the 1998 survey was the first to include
questions on the prevalence of drug use. Surveys are now being
carried out every year, with emphasis likely to alternate between
drugs and smoking and drinking. Between 1982 and 1999 surveys were
carried out by the Office for National Statistics, the 2000 and 2001
surveys were carried out by the National Centre for Social Research
and the National Foundation for Educational Research.
3. The previous report in the series was Boreham R & Shaw A Smoking,
drinking and drug use among young people in England in 2000,
Stationery Office (2001). Available from the Internet:
4. The report provides information used to monitor the targets set in
the Government's smoking strategy and drugs strategy. The
Government's smoking strategy is set out in Smoking Kills: A White
Paper on Tobacco, Cm 4177, Stationery Office (1998)
cm41/4177/4177.htm, and the Government's ten year drugs strategy is
set out in Tackling drugs to build a better Britain, Cm 3945,
Stationery Office (1998) http://www.archive.official-documents.
6. The National Centre for Social Research is an independent, social
research institute, registered as a charitable trust. A high
proportion of the institute's work is carried out on behalf of
central government departments, with other work undertaken on behalf
of health authorities, NHS trusts, local authorities, voluntary
organisations, and other public sector bodies. The National Centre
conducts small and large scale surveys, ad hoc projects, continuous
and annual surveys.
7. The National Foundation for Educational Research is an independent
organisation undertaking research and development projects in all
sectors of the public education system. The foundation carries out
work for government departments and other national and local agencies
and provides research, information and consultancy services to a wide
range of public and private clients.
PROVISIONAL STATISTICS FROM THE NATIONAL DRUG TREATMENT
This statistical press release presents provisional key results from
the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System on the number of
problem drug misusers who presented for treatment to drug treatment
agencies and general practitioners in England in 2001/02.
It is estimated that the number of problem drug misusers who
presented for treatment to drug treatment agencies and general
practitioners in England in 2001/02 increased by around 8% over the
It is estimated that among those who presented for treatment in
About one third (35%) were under 25 and about two thirds (65%) were
aged 25 and over.
Around a quarter (26%) of users were female and around three quarters
(74%) were male. The distribution by age group and gender were
similar to those reported to the Regional Drug Misuse Databases for
the six month period ending 31 March 2001.
Heroin was the most frequently reported main problem drug, accounting
for nearly three quarters of users (73%). The next most frequently
reported main drugs of misuse were cannabis (8%), crack (5%) and
cocaine, amphetamines and methadone (each 3%).
About 42% were reported as having referred themselves to drug
treatment services and 16% were referred by general practitioners. A
sixth (17%) were reported as having been referred by the criminal
justice system including 5% by arrest referral workers.
Some tables giving more details of these results and a note on
methodology are attached.
Produced by Government Statistical Service within the scope of
1. Press copies of the Statistical Press Release 'Statistics from the
National Drug TreatmentMonitoring System in England,2001/02' are
available from: the Department of Health Press Office, tel: 020 7210
5221. It will also be available as soon as practical after 8.30am on
Tuesday 3 December 2002 on the Department of Health's web site at:
2. Information on people presenting to services with problem drug
misuse for the six months ending 30 September 2000 and for the six
months ending 31 March 2001 were published in the series 'Statistics
from the Reginal Drug Misuse Databases', available from: Department
of Health, PO Box 777 London SE1 6XH. Tel no. 08701 555455 Fax 01623
724524. Bulletins are also available on the internet at
3. A 'census' was carried out in 2000/01 to estimate the number of
drug misusers in treatment in England in 2000/01. A statistical
bulletin 'Statistics from the Regional Drug Misuse Databases on drug
misusers in treatment in England, 2000/01' was published in December
2001. This is available on the internet at
4. The National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS), was
introduced from 1 April 2001 and collects data on both those drug
misusers presenting for treatment and those in treatment. The NDTMS
is a key source of information for monitoring the numbers in
treatment for the Government's 10-year strategy for tackling drug
misuse 'Tackling Drugs to build a better Britain'.
1. A user may report misusing several drugs. In the National Drug
Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS), one drug is recorded as the main
problem drug that led to presentation for treatment; up to four other
illicit drugs used in the 4 weeks before presenting for treatment may
also be recorded. This table gives results for the main problem drug.
2. These results are broadly similar to the results from the Regional
Drug Misuse Databases for the six months ending 31 March 2001, except
for heroin and methadone. For methadone, reported use has reduced and
for heroin reported use has increased. However, this change is likely
to be related to a difference in the way that drugs of misuse are
recorded in the NDTMS (compared to the RDMD), rather than to an
actual change in the use of methadone and heroin. Previously, in the
RDMD, some drug users had reported methadone prescribed for treatment
as their main drug of misuse whereas their underlying problem was, in
fact, one of heroin use.
1. Arrest Referral Schemes - The aim of ARSs is to use arrest as a
key point at which to invite the individual to address his/her drug
misuse, including onward referral to appropriate treatment and/or
other services. They are funded by the police, who work in
partnership with local drug treatment providers.
2. Drug Treatment and Testing Orders (DTTOs) - Funded by the
probation service, DTTOs are targeted at offenders who commit crime
to fund their drug habit and show a willingness to enter treatment.
Offenders will undergo treatment as part of a community sentence.
3. Counselling, Assessment, Referral, Advice and Throughcare (CARAT)
- CARATs are integrated drug treatment services that are based within
and across Prison Service areas.
4. Youth Offending Teams (YOTs) - The purpose of YOTs is to
co-ordinate the provision of youth justice services with the overall
aim of preventing offending by children and young people.
1. Up until 31 March 2001, data on the numbers of people presenting
to services with problem drug misuse were collected by the Regional
Drug Misuse Databases (RDMDs) in England. However, although services
and information needs had changed substantially, the RDMDs changed
little since their inception and development in the late 1980s.
Following a strategic review of the structure and operation of the
RDMDs, the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS) was
introduced in England and Wales from 1 April 2001. The new system
provides additional data and will be more suited to the information
needs of the Government's drugs strategy and other stakeholders.
Regional Drug Misuse Databases
2. The RDMD data included selected personal details and information
on the drugs misused together with the type of agency attended. These
data were collected and published centrally by the Department of
Health on a six monthly basis and included drug users presenting for
the first time or for the first time for a period of six months or
more. A drug user might, therefore, have been counted as an
individual in each six monthly data set. The last RDMD statistical
bulletin, for the six months ending 31 March 2001, was published in
the series 'Statistics from the Regional Drug Misuse Databases',
available on the internet at http://www.doh.gov.uk/public/sb0207.htm
National Drug Treatment Monitoring System
3. The National Drug Treatment Monitoring System, which was
introduced from 1 April 2001, collects information on clients
presenting for and entering treatment; it also includes whether they
are still in treatment at the end of each financial year, starting at
31 March 2002, and information on the treatment received.
4. Data are collected from drug agencies by regional centres;
anonymised data are then returned to the Department of Health. The
data include individuals presenting for structured treatment (a more
focused definition than that used for the Regional Drug Misuse
Databases) who present for treatment for the first time, or for the
first time in the financial year having gone out of contact with the
agency during the previous financial year. For the National Drug
Treatment Monitoring System a drug user may only be counted once as
an individual in each yearly data set for each regional centre.
Trends in the numbers presenting for treatment
5. As explained above, the figures collected from the National Drug
Treatment Monitoring System are not directly comparable with
information collected previously for the Regional Drug Misuse
Databases. An estimate of the trend in new presentations for
treatment has been calculated by comparing the following:
a) NDTMS for 2001/02
The provisional number of individual drug users reported to the
National Drug Treatment Monitoring System as presenting to drug
treatment services during 2001/02 (71,306). The National Drug
Treatment Monitoring System data used for the estimate is from the
Department of Health interim database; new software is planned for
roll out in Spring 2003, which will allow more detailed analysis of
b) RDMD for 2000/01
The number of individual drug users presenting for treatment at drug
treatment services from the Regional Drug Misuse Database data for
two six month periods - the six months ending 30 September 2000
(33,093) and the six months ending 31 March 2001(33,234), a total of
The estimated increase is about 8%
6. These figures are provisional and may be subject to later
revision. Numbers for the trend (8%) are from aggregate data supplied
to the Department of Health as at 18 November 2002. The percentages
in the tables are based on an analysis of individual records provided
to the Department of Health up to 31 October 2002. Reporting to the
NDTMS (and previously the RDMDs) is voluntary and trends can be
affected by reporting practices. It is planned to publish more
detailed information from the NDTMS in due course.