In this essay, firstly I will explore and analyse the HM Government’s current national drug policies and related initiatives in the context of the new 10 year Drug Strategy (2008-2018). When doing this I will take a look at the previous strategy (1998-2008) for an historical dimension.
The governments’ current national drug policies and related initiatives in the context of the new 10 year drug strategy (2008-2018) aim to reduce the harm that drugs cause, specifically to society, to communities, individuals and their families. The new 10 year drug strategy comprises of 4 strands of work.
The 4 strands are,
*Protecting communities through tackling drug supply, drug related crime and anti social behaviour.
*Preventing harm to children, young people and families affected by drug misuse.
*Delivering new approaches to drug treatment and social re-integration.
*Public information campaigns, communications and community engagement
It appears that the new 10 year drug strategy continues on from the previous 10 year strategy. It is similar to the previous 10 year strategy in that its key focus is to reduce the harm that drugs cause to the same population target, namely society, communities, individuals and their families. However, there are also some differences between the previous strategy and the current 10 year strategy. One explanation for this is that some of the goals of the 1998-2008 strategy have been achieved, thus the focus has been readjusted to target new initiatives, such as tackling drug supply and related criminal behaviour. Since 1998 far more funding has been invested in drug treatment in the UK, the effect of this has been that the percentage people, including young people, who use drugs, has fallen throughout the last 10 year plan. This is partly due to the fact that treatment has become a lot more accessible, particularly in terms of waiting times. Whilst the previous 10 year plan was successful in terms of fast tracking people into treatment and cutting waiting times, the new 10 year plan is focusing more upon treatment outcomes, aiming to free a greater proportion of the drug using population from drug dependence and help reintegrate them into society, i.e. supporting them in coming off benefits and getting back into work. In line with focusing on the bigger picture, instead of concentrating on the individual drug user, the new 10 year strategy aims to look at the families and wider community.
The 2008-2018 drugs strategy, in my own opinion, highlights that the government has critically analysed the effectiveness of the previous drugs strategy and then broadened their horizons. The knowledge and education that came from the previous strategy has provided the government with invaluable experiences in which to build on their historic achievements. The new strategy aims to expand and go beyond the needs of the drug user, giving more consideration to the wider community. The strategy has outlined that the way to achieve greater successes and learn from the last 10 years is to focus on the family unit, on communities, on targeting treatment outcomes and reintegration and ensuring that organisations work together to produce the most effective services available.
I think the new strategy shows that the Government have put a lot of thought into their targets and how they are going to get positive outcomes and good results on getting to the heart of drug problems in communities. The new 10 year strategy looks like a good plan of action that will have the support of the public, and represents a forward step by putting into place a good foundation and a strategic plan to tackle the problems.
I shall now explore the 4 strands in more detail.