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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Analysis of the UK Government's 10-Year Drugs Strategy - a resource for practitioners and policymakers
Author(s): Holland, Adam
Stevens, Alex
Harris, Magdalena
Lewer, Dan
Sumnall, Harry
Stewart, Daniel
Gilvarry, Eilish
Wiseman, Alice
Howkins, Joshua
McManus, Jim
Shorter, Gillian W
Nicholls, James
Scott, Jenny
Thomas, Kyla
Reid, Leila
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Keywords: addiction
Government and Law
public health
Issue Date: 29-Oct-2022
Date Deposited: 14-Nov-2022
Citation: Holland A, Stevens A, Harris M, Lewer D, Sumnall H, Stewart D, Gilvarry E, Wiseman A, Howkins J, McManus J, Shorter GW, Nicholls J, Scott J, Thomas K & Reid L (2022) Analysis of the UK Government's 10-Year Drugs Strategy - a resource for practitioners and policymakers. <i>Journal of Public Health</i>.
Abstract: In 2021, during a drug-related death crisis in the UK, the Government published its ten-year drugs strategy. This article, written in collaboration with the Faculty of Public Health and the Association of Directors of Public Health, assesses whether this Strategy is evidence-based and consistent with international calls to promote public health approaches to drugs, which put ‘people, health and human rights at the centre’. Elements of the Strategy are welcome, including the promise of significant funding for drug treatment services, the effects of which will depend on how it is utilized by services and local commissioners and whether it is sustained. However, unevidenced and harmful measures to deter drug use by means of punishment continue to be promoted, which will have deleterious impacts on people who use drugs. An effective public health approach to drugs should tackle population-level risk factors, which may predispose to harmful patterns of drug use, including adverse childhood experiences and socioeconomic deprivation, and institute evidence-based measures to mitigate drug-related harm. This would likely be more effective, and just, than the continuation of policies rooted in enforcement. A more dramatic re-orientation of UK drug policy than that offered by the Strategy is overdue.
DOI Link: 10.1093/pubmed/fdac114
Rights: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Notes: Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Online Additional co-authors: Edward Day, Jason Horsley, Fiona Measham, Maggie Rae, Kevin Fenton, Matthew Hickman
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