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EDUCATE, PREVENT AND TREAT- KEY TO SUCCESS IN TACKLING DRUGS

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UPDATED DRUG STRATEGY PUBLISHED...
UPDATED DRUG STRATEGY PUBLISHED

All controlled drugs are harmful and will remain illegal the home

secretary David Blunkett reaffirmed today as he published an updated

drug strategy focussing on delivery and evidence of what works on the

ground.

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

need.

* Expansion of treatment services tailored to individual need,

including residential treatment where appropriate and reduced waiting

times.

* 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

greatest.'

The new drug strategy updates the 1998 strategy and is being

published alongside research about levels and costs of drug use.

Notes

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

Justice Bill.

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

2005.

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

include:

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

users.

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

Testing Orders.

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

place.

Better targeting: focussing on the communities with the greatest

need.

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.

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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

today.

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

http://www.doh.gov.uk/public/press15march02.htm.

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:

http://www.doh.gov.uk/public/englandsmoking.pdf

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)

http://www.archive.official-documents.co.uk/document/

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.

co.uk/document/cm39/3945/3945.htm.

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.

[ENDS]

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

previous year.

It is estimated that among those who presented for treatment in

2001/02:

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

National Statistics

Notes

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:

Http://www.doh.gov.uk/public/stats1.htm

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

http://www.doh.gov.uk/public/stats1.htm

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

http://www.doh.gov.uk/public/sb0133.htm

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'.

Notes

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.

Notes:

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.

Methodology note

Background

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

data.

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

66,327.

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.

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