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The latest research, policy, practice and opinion on our criminal justice and drug & alcohol treatment systems

Alcohol & Drugs

All the latest news: Policy Practice Innovation Treatment Drug Use Trends

Here you can find over 400 posts tracking every major development in the substance misuse sector since 2011. You can keep up with latest treatment stats, funding news, policy developments and treatment innovations. If you’re looking for something in particular, try the search box below.

Alcohol & Drugs

We still imprison too many people for using drugs

You can see from the table that 281 people were sent to prison for possessing a Class C drug (Anabolic steroids, benzodiazepines, GHB, GBL, piperazines (BZP), and khat) despite having no previous convictions and a further 212 who had just one previous – bear in mind that 30% of British men have a criminal conviction by the age of 30.

Alcohol & Drugs

Women’s imprisonment across the world

We know that a large proportion of women in prison in England and Wales are drug dependent – 54% female remand prisoners were addicted to drugs in the year prior to being in prison. There is a parallel situation in the USA. Women are more than 50% more likely to be imprisoned for a drug crime than men (25.7% vs 17.2%).

Alcohol & Drugs

How big is the drugs trade?

One of the principal attractions of a good infographic is that it’s possible to assemble many pages’ worth of key facts and figures in one image. The infographic below, developed by the Top Criminal Justice Schools website, manages to pull together information about the size of the global drug market in terms of: Users; Value; Expenditure and
Kingpins (several of whom reliably make the Forbes world’s richest list every year)

Alcohol & Drugs

One new Legal High a week

Many of this group of users of these new drugs are reported to be very reluctant to seek help from traditional treatment services, seeing them as being for “problem” heroin, crack and alcohol users. The report also argues that, with the exception of a few new emerging services (such as the Club Drug Clinic), existing services are not equipped to meet the needs of NPS users, even when they do seek help.

Alcohol & Drugs

Funding cuts for drug and alcohol treatment

In its response to the review, DrugScope, representing service providers, expressed a concern about the current volatility of funding. Drugscope highlighted PHE ADPH drugs alcohol commissioning 2014 the continuous drive to reassess and retender services, and the need for commissioners to understand the impact frequent tendering processes have on providers (see this post for an alternative model).

Alcohol & Drugs

Are drugs getting more popular (again)?

This year’s (British) Crime Survey found an increase in the proportion of people using illegal drugs is rising again. This finding is in the context of a steady drop in levels of drug use over the last 15 years and it’s not clear whether the rise is merely a blip or the start of a new upwards trend.

Alcohol & Drugs

Heroin driving force behind crime trends

The most convincing aspects of Morgan’s hypothesis are the way that is able to match local crime rates with peak levels of heroin use (although, unfortunately, he has to use the now-defunct Addicts Index as the indicator of heroin dependency). Atypical areas where heroin use peaked earlier (Merseyside, Edinburgh and the Republic of Ireland) or not at all (Northern Ireland) show very close correlation between the rise and fall of crime rates.

Alcohol & Drugs

Ambitious for recovery?

The report is engagingly direct in its criticisms of our drug treatment centre, saying that is still too focused on maintaining dependent users on methadone and other substitute drugs and failing to help them sustain recovery and life productive lives. It claims: “For years full recovery has been the preserve of the wealthy – closed off to the poorest people and to those with problems who need to rely on a public system.”

Alcohol & Drugs

The State of the Drug Treatment Sector

Survey respondents were asked to identify the top three priorities and challenges for their own services. Nearly 60% said that funding and service capacity was a priority; and about one third were concerned about both the frequency and quality of the recommissioning process, and staffing levels and morale.

Alcohol & Drugs

US tweeters resolve to smoke more marijuana in 2014

Although I tend to agree with the arguments of those who contend that the War on Drugs has caused more problems than it has solved, I’m still instinctively sceptical about the merits of legalising drugs on the basis that it’s always a lot harder to get the genie back in the bottle.

Alcohol & Drugs

Drug treatment helps recovery but is not enough on its own

Measuring drug recovery is problematic, to say the least. Recovery from drug dependence is, like desistance from crime, rarely a linear process and typically includes lapse and relapse over many years. Different people choose different recovery goals: some people remain abstinent from all substances for life; others continue to use occasionally; or replace drug dependence with a reliance on alcohol.

Alcohol & Drugs

Can sobriety bracelets help tackle domestic violence?

The bracelet itself looks like a slightly larger version of a normal electronic tag. The sensor on the tag has to be next to bare skin because the “transdermal” technology works by analysing perspiration. When alcohol is consumed, approximately 1% is not metabolised but is excreted through the skin via perspiration.

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