Publication of drug misuse prevention review

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) has published a report on how to better prevent drug use among vulnerable people.

This report was commissioned by the Home Office following its publication of the Drugs Strategy in December 2021 to provide advice on how these groups can be prevented from using and becoming dependent on drugs.

The recommendations from the ACMD, directed at the cross-government Joint Combating Drugs Unit, Department for Health and Social Care, and Department for Education, are that the government should:

  • reflect in its policies and guidance the drug prevention approaches recommended by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the World Health Organization and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

  • not pursue drug prevention activities that the ACMD has found to be ineffective, for example approaches that cause fear in the target groups or stand-alone mass media campaigns – only activities that have been properly resourced and are based on peer reviewed, evaluative research should be used

  • fund further research to improve understanding of adult vulnerability to drug use, with resources to support this identified within the innovation fund announced with the Drugs Strategy

  • in consultation with professional bodies and prevention experts, invest in and mandate workforce training and resources to ensure that the professionals dealing with vulnerable drug users are equipped to respond appropriately

  • not focus solely on vulnerable groups as this will limit the reach of prevention activities and contribute the stigmatisation and discrimination; instead, the government should acknowledge the varied nature of vulnerability and consider the impact of social environments on overall well-being

The full report is available: Drug misuse prevention review

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