Select Committee on Home Affairs Memoranda

Submitted by the Home Office



    1.1  Tackling drugs to build a better Britain (Cm 3945), which was launched in April 1998, is a ten-year strategy for tackling drug misuse. A key theme is to focus efforts on tackling the root causes of drug misuse proactively, rather than reactively subsidising failure. The strategy has four key aims, each of which is inter-linked:

    young people—to help young people resist drug misuse;

    communities—to protect communities from drug-related anti-social and criminal behaviour;

    treatment—to enable people with drug problems to overcome them;

    availability—to disrupt the supply of drugs.

    1.2  The focus of the strategy is on Class "A" drugs. Details of the legal framework can be found at Annex A.

    1.3  As part of the Comprehensive Spending Review 2000, the four key aims, set in 1998, were rolled over into the Action Against Illegal Drugs Public Service Agreement, with the overall aim of creating a healthy and confident society, increasingly free from the harm caused by the misuse of drugs. Targets were set for each of the four key aims:

    —  to reduce the proportion of people under the age of 25 reporting the use of Class "A" drugs by 25 per cent by 2005 (and by 50 per cent by 2008);

    —  to reduce the levels of repeat offending among drug misusing offenders by 25 per cent by 2005 (and by 50 per cent by 2008);

    —  to increase the participation of problem drug misusers in drug treatment programmes by 55 per cent by 2004 (by 66 per cent by 2005 and by 100 per cent by 2008);

    —  to reduce the availability of Class "A" drugs by 25 per cent by 2005 (and by 50 per cent by 2008).

    1.4  Following this year's General Election, the Home Secretary has assumed overall responsibility for delivery of the anti-drugs strategy. The Home Secretary is also chairman of the ministerial sub-committee for tackling drug misuse—DA(D). Its members are: the Secretary of State for Health; the Chief Secretary, to the Treasury; the Secretary of State for Education and Skills; the Minister of State, Cabinet Office; and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The Financial Secretary, Treasury is invited to attend as appropriate in view of his responsibility for HM Customs & Excise.

    1.5  The Home Secretary and DA(D) are responsible for ensuring the delivery of the Government's national and international policies for tackling drug misuse, but a number of Departments have a vital role to play in taking forward the activities under each of the aims. Details of the national and local delivery structures can be found at Annex B.


    2.1  The strategy's first aim is to help young people resist drug misuse in order to achieve their full potential in society, with the key target of reducing the proportion of people under the age of 25 reporting the use of Class "A" drugs by 25 per cent by 2005 and 50 per cent by 2008.

    2.2  The 1998 British Crime Survey and the 1999 Schools Survey set the baseline to measure progress on this target. These showed: 2.4 per cent of 11-15 year olds reported using Class "A" drugs in the previous year and 1.1 per cent in the previous month (1999 Schools Survey); and, the figures for 16-24 year olds were 8.3 per cent in the last year and 3.4 per cent in the last month (1998 British Crime Survey).

    2.3  Results from the Schools Survey 2000 show that 1 per cent of 11 to 15 year olds have used opiates (heroin or methadone) and 4 per cent claimed to have used stimulants (includes cocaine, crack, and ecstasy). The British Crime Survey 2000 shows that drug use in the general population remains stable, with some significant reductions in the proportion of young people aged 16-19 taking drugs. However, the use of cocaine among 16—19 year olds has risen significantly, from 1 to 4 per cent between 1994 and 2000.

Evidence and Rationale

    2.4  The Young People Public Service Agreement outcome target is underpinned by activities undertaken by the Home Office, Department for Education and Skills and the Department of Health. The evidence base is being further developed (see paragraph 2.13 below). Progress is being made in ensuring that measures to tackle drug misuse are being delivered and co-ordinated to best effect. For instance, there is evidence from the US that prevention works best when a co-ordinated multi-component approach, involving different interventions and settings (eg community-based, schools, youth clubs, family) is taken. Similarly, within schools there is Australian, US and (albeit limited) UK evidence that an approach centred around equipping children with "life skills" is more likely to be effective than one based on fear-based drugs information alone.

    2.5  How this evidence is being reflected in practice is set out more fully below.


    2.6  Essential to the delivery of this target is to ensure at both national and local level that drug services for young people are fully integrated into the wider provision of children's services.

Young People's Substance Misuse Plans

    2.7  A major step forward in improving the planning and co-ordination of the delivery of services for young people are Young People's Substance Misuse Plans. These will help to integrate the work of the Drug Action Teams, responsible at local level for delivering education, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation measures, with other children's services. During the current financial year all Drug Action Teams will be undertaking a comprehensive analysis of both the needs of children and young people and current capacity. The Drug Action Team will use this information to draw up a Young People's Substance Misuse Plan. The information will also provide national measures of coverage by type of service and vulnerable group against which progress can be measured.

    2.8  Each Drug Action Team's Young People's Substance Misuse Plan will be required to show that by 2004 there will be: substance misuse education and information for all young people and their families; advice and support targeted at vulnerable groups; early identification of need; and, tailored support to all those who need it when they need it.

Activities in support of achieving the target


    2.9  The strategy aims to encourage young people not to take drugs in the first place. It also recognises that young people, and those responsible for them, need to be informed about the harm that drugs can cause. This is based on the premise that greater knowledge will have a positive effect on young people's behaviour. This can be achieved by enhancing the effectiveness of drug education in schools.

    2.10  The Department for Education and Skills has allocated £14.5 million (2001-02), £15.5 million (2002-03), and £17.5 million (2003-04) for drug, alcohol and tobacco education.

    2.11  All schools are required to teach drug, alcohol and tobacco education as part of the National Curriculum. The Department for Education and Skills's guidance on Protecting Young People: Good practice in drug education in schools and the youth service encourages schools to deliver drug, alcohol and tobacco education as part of a broader Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) curriculum.

    2.12  The guidance also encourages all schools to have drug education policies. In 1997, 86 per cent of secondary schools and 61 per cent of primary schools had drug, alcohol and tobacco education policies. Ofsted's survey: Drug Education in Schools: an update (September 2000) showed that this had increased to 93 per cent of secondary schools and 75 per cent of primary schools. The target for 2002 is for all secondary and 80 per cent of primary schools to have a policy in place.

    2.13  Earlier this year the Government commissioned a long-term study on the impact of drug, alcohol and tobacco education in schools. This will be a joint project between the Department for Education and Skills, the Department of Health and the Home Office. The study will look at which types of educational input and other factors, such as socio-economic and cultural have most impact on influencing behaviour. The project will start in the autumn.

National Healthy Schools

    2.14  The Department of Health and the Department for Education and Skills are jointly funding the National Healthy School Standard, of which drug, alcohol and tobacco education is one of the key components. More than half the country's schools now have access to a nationally accredited Healthy Schools programme. The Government is on track to achieve its target of accrediting every local education authority and health authority partnership by April 2002.

    2.15  There are over 50 Primary School/Primary Care Health Links Projects operating within the Healthy Schools Standard in a range of localities in England. These projects are funded by the NHS. The aim of these projects is to develop more effective preventive work around a range of issues, including drug misuse.

Communication initiatives

    2.16  The Department of Health is investing up to £4 million a year on a number of communication initiatives. These include £2 million a year for running and publicising the National Drugs Helpline (0800 776600) which receives between 250,000 and 500,000 calls a year. It also includes distribution of two to three million publications aimed at informing parents and young people about drugs. The Department also provides information about its activities in this area on its internet site; and interactively through the National Drugs Helpline and through and

Contribution to wider social agenda

    2.17  The Government is committed to developing an overarching strategy for its services and policies for children. This is being co-ordinated by the new cross-departmental Children and Young People's Unit. In the document Tomorrow's Future: Building a Strategy for Children and Young People, launched in March this year, the Minister for Young People committed the Government to principles which would ensure that children can grow up to play a full and vigorous role in society. Activity in support of the drugs strategy targets for young people is being developed to reflect those principles.

    2.18  The Government is funding a number of activities and projects which at the same time as providing opportunities for young people to develop a variety of skills to resist drugs also form part of its agenda for tackling wider social issues.

Positive Futures

    2.19  Positive Futures aims to use sport to reduce anti-social behaviour, crime and drug misuse among 10-16 year olds within selected neighbourhoods. Set up in March 2000 and funded partly through the Confiscated Assets Fund, Positive Futures is a partnership between Sport England, the Home Office and the Youth Justice Board.

    2.20  There are currently 24 Positive Future projects nation-wide. Positive Futures incorporates a number of different approaches aimed at engaging vulnerable young people in sport. Common features throughout the projects include coaching skills across a range of sports, mentoring using sport as a focus, and outreach work to make contact with young people at risk of exclusion.

    2.21  Early indications show that the projects are having a positive impact on crime and drug misuse and participants' lifestyles. In this year's Budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer allocated a further £5 million over two years to help set up an additional 40-50 projects.


    2.22  Connexions provides careers advice and youth support service for 13 to 19 year olds. Drug Action Teams, supported by the Drugs Prevention Advisory Service, are working with Connexions in a three-pronged strategy to provide: help to young people at risk of drug misuse because of home and/or school circumstances; advice and information to young people about the use of drugs and alcohol; an in-depth assessment of young people's needs, including those created by drug misuse, and a planned response. This will include brokering support from specialist agencies when needed.

    2.23  Since April 2001, Connexions has been available in 12 areas. Three more areas started in September 2001. The service will be rolled-out across the remaining 32 areas in England by 2003. (Areas are based on Learning and Skills Council areas. Broadly co-terminous with local authority boundaries, the areas comprise several local authorities clustered together.)

Health Action Zones projects

    2.24  In order to stimulate new drug prevention activity with vulnerable groups, including young offenders, homeless young people and looked-after children, the Department of Health has made available £7 million over four years (1998/9-2001/2) for Health Action Zones. These are partnerships between local agencies, community groups and the voluntary and business sectors. Twenty-six Health Action Zones have been established in England by the Government in the areas of greatest deprivation and poor health to tackle health inequalities and modernise services through local innovation.

    2.25  Between them the Health Action Zones are currently running around 130 projects and initiatives in support of this. Some have the aim of integrating drug misuse prevention within and across services for young people provided by health, local authorities and other Health Action Zone partners. Others are discrete projects dealing with a particular category of vulnerable young person, for example children with drug misusing parents. An evolving national evaluation of these initiatives is underway and should be completed by 2003.

Youth Offending Teams

  2.26  Youth Offending Teams were created under the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and implemented nationally from 1 April 2000. Local authorities with social services and education authorities are required to work with the police, probation services and health authorities to establish multi-agency Youth Offending Teams. There are 154 in operation across England and Wales. They are central to the youth justice system—advising courts, administering community sentences and interventions, working with juvenile custodial establishments, and performing crime prevention with young people at risk.

    2.27  The Youth Justice Board, in partnership with the Home Office, is providing funding for Youth Offending Teams during this current financial year and for 2002/03 (£8.5 million) and 2003/04 (£8.5 million) to assist in the development of drugs services for young people. Youth Offending Teams are using the money to establish posts for drugs workers and are also in some areas using it to fund workers in other local services providing for young people misusing drugs.

Targeted intervention

    2.28  Targeted interventions focus activities at high-risk children or young people who have an increased risk of substance misuse. Examples of the activities include prevention programmes in "high risk" areas or for particular groups of young people, individual and family crisis support, assessments and links with more specialist drug services. The results from work with young people in Health Action Zones will be used as a basis for increased targeted prevention activity by health authorities working with other community partners during 2001/4.

Young People's treatment

    2.29  Treatment facilities for young people need to be provided separately to those for adults and tailored specifically to the needs of young people. In particular, they need to look at how a young person's drug use might be linked to other personal or social issues and develop multi-agency interventions for the young person and their families. While the provision of young people's drug treatment services is currently expanding throughout the country more needs to be done. This will be addressed by the National Treatment Agency (see 4.5-4.7) and within each Drug Action Team area by the Young People's Substance Misuse Plan.


    3.1  The strategy's second aim is to protect communities from drug-related anti-social and criminal behaviour, with the key target of reducing levels of repeat offending among drug misusing offenders by 25 per cent by 2005 and 50 per cent by 2008.

    3.2  Drug-related crime is a social problem, imposing serious costs, often on those individuals and communities least equipped to cope with them. Government policy is to ensure that the criminal justice system takes concerted action at every stage to break the link between drugs and crime. Helping drug-misusing offenders to tackle their drug problems and become better integrated into society has a significant impact on levels of crime. Local partnerships can work successfully to tackle local drug problems, and to improve the quality of life for communities.

    3.3  The current target only addresses the issue of drug-related crime. However our work also focuses on the broader level of harm drugs do to communities. This includes the need to develop community resistance to drugs and to strengthen communities. This is particularly important in the poorest areas where there is a strong need to build community cohesion and social capital which is eroded by drugs. This will be achieved through development of clear targets and objectives for broader community approaches to drugs.

Evidence and Rationale

    3.4  There is good evidence that treatment forms an effective means of breaking the link—both from the literature and, increasingly, the results of pilots on the ground. Delivering the target means not only ensuring adequate treatment provision but also ensuring effective mechanisms whereby drug misusing offenders can be effectively channelled into these services. The Government has introduced a number of programmes to do that—for example, Arrest Referral Schemes and Drug Treatment and Testing Orders, the piloting of drug testing provisions under the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act, and the extension of detoxification and other treatment services within the Prison Service. A further strand of activity under this target is strengthening communities so that they are better placed to resist the effects of drug misuse.

    3.5  Whilst community development approaches are very important and significant within the United States drugs strategy, the evidence base to date remains weak, both there and in the UK. However, Home Office research under the Drug Prevention Initiative and currently in progress will improve this.

Tackling drugs at a community level—Communities Against Drugs

    3.6  The Government announced in this year's Budget that new resources would be allocated for Communities Against Drugs (CAD) as part of its commitment to help local communities mobilise against drugs.

    3.7  £220 million over three years is to be distributed through Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships, working with local police, Drug Action Teams, to be spent on targeted, locally determined measures to: disrupt drugs markets; tackle drug-related crime; and strengthen the ability of communities to deal with the drug problems in their midst.

    3.8  The money should be used flexibly by partnerships—above all it is to be used to back local people in action against drugs. It can be spent on a whole range of activities. For example: ensuring that police officers maintain a visible presence in drug hot spots, by extending for instance, the investment in extra visibility which has already been achieved in five police force areas through the Government's street robbery initiative; mobile police stations to make the police more readily accessible to local communities; neighbourhood wardens to provide a constant presence on housing estates and other public areas; action to tackle drug-related anti-social behaviour, for example through Anti-Social Behaviour Orders; and, support for community, parents' and residents' groups.

    3.9  The Home Office will be carrying out an evaluation of some of the projects under Communities against Drugs.

Tackling drugs and urban renewal

    3.10  More generally, the impact of drugs on the poorest communities and the relationship between drugs and the national strategy for neighbourhood renewal is being developed. The role of drugs in hindering efforts at urban renewal and the creation of social exclusion is being addressed by a greater range of joint programmes between the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions and the Home Office. These include specific guidance on aspects of regeneration and housing practice (Managing Drugs in Rented Housing—a good practice guide) and long-term action research into what works. This is a partnership project with the Neighbourhood Renewal unit in the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions and involves evaluation into the effects of a wide range of community interventions across availability, treatment and young people's work located in three New Deal for Communities programmes. This started in April 2001 and initial reports are due by autumn 2002.

    3.11  This range of programmes is designed to look at ways in which treatment services and services for young people, as well as action to disrupt supply as funded under Communities Against Drugs, can be directed at those communities most affected by social exclusion. The work also involves much greater attention to the management of clubs, pubs, the workplace and other community settings where drug use can be problematic.

    3.12  Much of the current investment under CAD is designed to build social capital and cohesion against drugs. It is recognised that the presence of large and active drug supply and use networks in deprived areas is a barrier to regeneration and community development. But removing these is a long-term need requiring effort across all four aims of the strategy.

Criminal justice system

    3.13  The Government has introduced a number of measures that aim to identify drug misusing offenders, particularly those using Class "A" drugs, in order to provide the opportunity to intervene earlier in their drug using career and to help them to gain access to treatment.

    3.14  It has been estimated that the cost of drugs offences to the criminal justice system is around £1.2 billion a year (this does not include crime committed to fund drug use). (The Economic and Social Costs of Crime—Home Office Research Study 217).

    3.15  Drug misuse and crime are strongly connected: the New English and Welsh Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring programme (NEW ADAM) found that 65 per cent of arrestees across four sites tested positive for an illegal drug, with 29 per cent testing positive for heroin and/or cocaine/crack; users of both heroin and cocaine/crack represented nearly a quarter of the arrestees, yet were responsible for more than half (by value) of acquisitive crime in 1999-2000 (Home Office Research Study 205 NEW-ADAM).

Arrest Referral Schemes

    3.16  Arrest Referral Schemes aim to reduce drug-related crime by encouraging problem drug users to take up treatment at the point of arrest. Ideally,workers will be on site drug workers in police custody suites to follow up quickly when a person expresses interest in knowing more about the scheme. They will then undertake an assessment and be referred to appropriate treatment and/or other programmes of help.

    3.17  Extra funding from the Crime Reduction Programme Joint Funding Initiative has helped to accelerate the development of Arrest Referral Schemes in England and Wales, resulting in 86 per cent coverage of custody suites by 330 drug workers by the end of March 2001. By 2002 all police forces should be operating pro-active arrest referral schemes.

    3.18  Early Home Office pilot schemes (1995-1998) identified the following outcome in those offenders who had been engaged in treatment: around 60 per cent reported reductions in acquisitive crime; 75 per cent reduced their spending on drugs; 31 per cent said that they had reduced their drug use; and 28 per cent said that they had stopped using heroin or their illicit drug.

Drug Treatment and Testing Orders (DTTOs)

    3.19  Available throughout England and Wales since October 2000, the Drug Treatment and Testing Order is a community sentence created by the Crime and Disorder Act 1998. It aims to break the link between drug use and crime. The Drug Treatment and Testing Order is targeted at problem drug users aged 16 or over who commit crime to fund their drug habits, show a willingness to co-operate with treatment and are before the court for an offence that is sufficiently serious to attract a community sentence.

    3.20  Drug Treatment and Testing Orders enable courts to require offenders—provided they agree to comply—to undergo treatment and other programmes, designed to tackle their drug misuse and offending, at a specified place for a period of between six months and three years. Under the terms of the Order, offenders must also be tested regularly for illegal drugs, and attend court for periodic reviews of their progress.

    3.21  Drug Treatment and Testing Orders improve upon previous provision by requiring the court to play an on-going role in reviewing the offenders progress on the Order and through the mandatory drug testing of offenders.

Drug Treatment and Testing Orders pilot schemes

    3.22  The "Drug Treatment and Testing Orders: Final Evaluation Report" (Home Office Research Study 21), published on 30 October 2000) showed major reductions in offending and drug consumption by people subjected to Drug Treatment and Testing Order.

    3.23  The Drug Treatment and Testing Order pilot schemes were undertaken in Croydon, Liverpool and Gloucestershire from October 1998 to March 2000. During that period, 210 Drug Treatment and Testing Order were made. Key findings showed that: the average weekly spend on illegal drugs by offenders on Drug Treatment and Testing Orders fell from £400 in the month before arrest to £25 in the first six weeks of the order—a fall of 94 per cent; the average number of crimes committed to fund consumption of illegal drugs fell from 137 in the month before arrest to 34 in the first few weeks of the order.

    3.24  The research showed that these reductions in offending and drug consumption were largely sustained over time for those who stayed on the programme.

Drug Treatment and Testing Order roll-out

    3.25  £20 million was made available for the roll-out of Drug Treatment and Testing Orders in 2000-01 (the first six months after implementation) and £40 million for the following year (the first full year of implementation), ring-fenced for the purpose. Under the new pooled budget arrangements, which promote more effective joint commissioning through Drug Action Teams, the treatment element of Drug Treatment and Testing Order funding for 2001-02 became part of the pooled budget. This will continue to be the case in subsequent years. Improved local planning and commissioning of drug treatment, and the additional funding made available by the Government for the expansion of drug treatment services, should ensure that the needs of all drug misusers, including offenders on Drug Treatment and Testing Order, are met more effectively.

    3.26  As at the end of June 2001, over 2,300 Drug Treatment and Testing Orders had been made, of which 336 had been terminated. After an anticipated slow start following roll-out, the monthly number of Orders is continuing to increase steadily. The target of approximately 6000 Drug Treatment and Testing Orders to be made during 2001-02 is on track.

Drug Testing

    3.27  The Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000 contains provision to drug test persons aged 18 and over for specified Class "A" drugs, (heroin and crack/cocaine), including: those charged with trigger offences (property crime, robbery and/or Class "A" drug offences) and offenders under probation service supervision (bail, community sentence and on licence from prison) in order to identify those misusing drugs and monitor their progress.

    3.28  These new powers will: allow the police to test those charged with trigger offences, or where they suspect that misuse of specified Class "A" drugs is involved in the commissioning of the crime; require the Court to take a positive drug test into account when considering bail; introduce a requirement to undergo testing for all those on community sentences for trigger offences whom the Court considers are dependent on, or have a propensity to misuse, Class "A" drugs; introduce the new Drug Abstinence Order for all those in the target group for whom an alternative community sentence is not appropriate; allow a condition to undergo drug testing to be included in the licence of those released from prison having served a sentence for a trigger offence, with drug abuse identified as a contributing factor to their offending.

    3.29  The new drug testing provisions will complement existing programmes for tackling drug-related crime. These provisions are being piloted for two years from summer 2001, in three areas—Nottingham, Stafford and Hackney. The schemes will be fully evaluated.

Prison Service

    3.30  The Prison Service Drug Strategy was introduced in 1998 and forms part of the overall anti-drugs strategy. The Prison Service drug strategy is being implemented with a significant investment of funding: approximately £25 million per year extra since 1999-2000 (Comprehensive Spending Review) and a further £88 million for the period 2001-2004 (Spending Review).

Supply Reduction

  3.31  The Prison Service is continuing to improve procedures for reducing the supply of drugs into prisons. Additional funds have been allocated to particular aspects of security directly focused on drugs. Every closed prison is required to have CCTV in visit areas and, since April 1999, the Prison Service has introduced a more comprehensive and consistent framework for dealing with visitors attempting to smuggle drugs in to prisoners. In addition, by 31 March 2002 every prison is required to have access to a passive drug dog, which is trained to search visitors for drugs, and will indicate a drugs find by sitting beside the visitor concerned.

  3.32  The Prison Service is working with the police, Customs and Excise and the Scottish Prison Service on the development of better technology to detect drugs. Steps are also being taken towards achieving a reliable picture of the pattern of drug supply and availability throughout the prison estate.

Mandatory Drug Testing

  3.33  The Mandatory Drug Testing programme was introduced in 1995 and has three aims: to deter prisoners from misusing drugs through the threat of being caught and punished; to supply information on patterns and levels of drug misuse; and to identify individuals in need of treatment. In each prison mandatory drug tests are carried out on a random proportion of either 5 per cent or 10 per cent of prisoners per month, depending upon the size of the prison in question.

  3.34  The percentage of positive results from the random Mandatory Drug Testing programme has fallen from 24.4 per cent in 1996-97 to 12.4 per cent in 2000-01. The Prison Service has a target to reduce positive Mandatory Drug Testing results to 10 per cent by March 2004.

Voluntary Drug Testing

  3.35  Voluntary drug testing allows prisoners to make a commitment to remain drug free and undergo drug testing more frequently than under Mandatory Drug Testing—typically at least 18 times per year. The Prison Service has introduced voluntary testing for all suitable prisoners and has a target of 28,000 prisoners on voluntary testing compacts by 1 April 2002.



  3.36  In December 2000 the Prison Service introduced a new standard for clinical services for substance misusers so that detoxification services are available in all local and remand prisons, to a level at least comparable with that in the community, and to a standard set by the Department of Health. The Prison Service is committed to achieving, 27,000 annual entrants to detoxification programmes by March 2004. Current performance is in excess of this: 32,000 annual entrants assessments in 2000-01.


  3.37  All prisons now provide CARATs (Counselling, Assessment, Referral, Advice and Throughcare) services, which constitute a package of support and advice services for drug misusers throughout their time in prison. CARATs can refer prisoners to more intensive treatment programmes if applicable, and provides continuity between treatment in prison and that available on release. The Prison Service has a target of completing 25,000 full assessments annually by March 2004. Current performance is well ahead of this target—37,000 assessments in 2000-01.

Drug Rehabilitation Programmes

  3.38  These are intensive treatment programmes for prisoners with moderate to severe drug misuse problems and related offending behaviour. There are currently 50 such programmes, 32 more than when the drug strategy was introduced. Rehabilitation programmes are delivered through a multi-disciplinary approach which involves community agencies under contract to the Prison Service.

  3.39  The Prison Service target is for 5,700 annual entrants to rehabilitation programmes by March 2004. There were 3,100 entrants in 2000-01. Delays in placing contracts and recruiting staff have meant a slower than expected build up to the target numbers. An additional £1.7 million was allocated in February 2001 to provide further places.

Post-Release Drug Hostels

  3.40  The Prison Service is leading a pilot scheme to set up post-release hostels for short-term prisoners with histories of drug misuse. There will be five hostels in the pilot, one for women and four for men, all planned to open by July 2002. Responsibility for this project will pass to the National Probation Directorate of the Home Office later this year when contracts are awarded.

  3.41  There is also a need to review the link between prison-based treatment and post-release treatment. The Prison Service is working with the National Treatment Agency (see 4.5-4.7) and the Home Office to ensure that ex-prisoners have access to appropriate treatment after release. The head of the Prison Service's Drug Strategy Unit sits on the Board of the National Treatment Agency.


  4.1  The strategy's third aim is to enable people with drug problems to overcome them and live healthy and crime-free lives. This is underpinned by the target of increasing the participation of problem users in effective treatment programmes by 50 per cent by 2004, 66 per cent by 2005 and 100 per cent by 2008.


  4.2  Treatment works: the most extensive evaluation of drug treatment in the UK has shown that it leads to reductions in both drug use and offending for periods of at least five years. Treatment was found to be cost effective—for every £1 spent on treatment, £3 was saved in criminal justice expenditure. (Source: The National Treatment Outcome Research Study). There has been a steady increase in the number of drug misusers attending treatment services—up 16 per cent over two years, from 28,599 in April to September 1998 to 33,093 for the equivalent period in 2000. (Source: Department of Health Statistical Bulletin, 2001).

  4.3  These results are broadly reflected across the treatment literature more widely—both here and in other countries. Key actions in the strategy over the next three years include: addressing performance variations within each of the main types of treatment; reducing unacceptable length of waiting times for entry into treatment; and, ensuring that at least 30 per cent of GPs offer shared-care services. A target of reducing drug-related deaths by 20 per cent by 2004 has also been agreed.

  4.4  More needs to be done. More skilled drugs workers are needed and the availability and quality of treatment and aftercare services need strengthening. That is why the Government has been investing more resources in providing treatment services and continues to do so. In total, provision for treatment of both non-offenders and offenders is planned to increase from £234 million in 2000-01 to over £400 million by 2003-04.


  4.5  It is also why the Government in April this year set up a new Special Health Authority, the National Treatment Agency. This is a joint initiative between the Department of Health and the Home Office. The National Treatment Agency is responsible for overseeing the provision of drug treatment programmes across the UK and ensuring that those who need it receive effective, high-quality, consistent treatment no matter where they live or where they are referred from.

  4.6  The purpose of the National Treatment Agency is to support the achievement of the Government's strategic aims for substance misuse treatment. The Agency will initiate research into effective practice, and translate this into standards and guidance. The National Treatment Agency will hold Drug Action Teams to account for their commissioning of services, to ensure that effective treatment is available to meet the needs of the whole population. To ensure that investment in treatment is not wasted, Drug Action Teams will be expected to work with partners in housing, education and employment to promote the social integration of drug misusers following and during treatment.

  4.7  To improve co-ordination, the Home Office and the Department of Health have created a "pooled budget" for commissioning drug misuse services. This budget is allocated to local agencies, again on a pooled basis, so that the National Treatment Agency can ensure better integration and improved effectiveness of the services purchased.


  4.8  In response to the need for more suitably qualified staff, particularly at clinical level, a national recruitment campaign was held in March 2000 with an overwhelming response—over 50,000 calls to the central response centre and 25,000 expressing an interest in working in drug treatment.

  4.9  Additional allocation for drug treatment in 2000-01 meant that 75 Drug Action Teams received funding to hold recruitment events and exercises to make contact with these potential employees. These are currently being held. A formal evaluation is planned in the autumn. The Department of Health has also allocated £220,000 over two years to provide training bursaries of up to £400 per person for drug workers wishing to acquire relevant professional qualifications.

  4.10  Occupational standards for drug treatment services are currently being developed which will foster a strategic approach to education and training of all workers in the field. The National Treatment Agency will also be developing a human resources strategy as part of its remit to tackle some of the recruitment and retention issues within the drugs treatment field. This will build on the work already undertaken by the Department of Health and other agencies.


  4.11  To improve the quality of services available, clinical guidelines (Drug Misuse and Dependence—Guidelines on Clinical Management) were published by the Department of Health in 1999. These provide detailed guidance for doctors on the assessment and treatment of drug misuse, including advice on ways to prevent relapse in drug misuse.


  4.12  All Drug Action Teams are required to establish maximum waiting times for admission into treatment programmes by March 2002. Guidance on how best to achieve this will be developed by the National Treatment Agency in collaboration with others in this field.


  4.13  The UK adopted harm minimisation strategies in the early 1990s, focused mainly on the provision of needle exchange, as a preventative measure for HIV/AIDS. 99 per cent of health authorities in England now have needle exchange programmes. Over 27 million needles and syringes are exchanged each year.

  4.14  In 2001 the Department of Health produced Hepatitis C—Guidance for those working with drug users for those who work with drug misusers; funded regional seminars, supported by new health promotion materials on strategies to reduce injecting and sharing and encouraging uptake of Hepatitis B vaccination.

  4.15  The Government has a commitment to produce a cross-Government action plan by 2002 to reduce drug-related deaths. The Department of Health has a service delivery agreement for achieving a 20 per cent reduction in drug-related deaths by 2004.


  5.1  The strategy's fourth aim is to disrupt the supply of illegal drugs on the street, with the key objective of reducing the availability of Class "A" drugs by 25 per cent by 2005 and 50 per cent by 2008. The strategy is implemented by a combination of direct law enforcement action in the UK and overseas, and by funding technical and training assistance programmes overseas.

  5.2  The illegal drug trade is a global industry estimated by the IMF to be worth some $200 billion a year. Considerable resources are being deployed world-wide to combat this trade by reducing drug production, processing and trafficking.

  5.3  Most illegal drugs reach Britain through organised crime. It is complex and fast moving and demands a comprehensive response. The UK response has a number of strands:

    —  better strategic intelligence. Detailed up-to-date information shared effectively between law enforcement agencies is critical. In the UK, the National Criminal Intelligence Service collates, disseminates and analyses criminal intelligence. The Security and Intelligence Agencies apply their specialist skills against organised crime at home and abroad;

    —  appropriate legal powers. With rapidly changing technology and criminal practice it is essential to keep legislation up to date;

    —  co-ordinated skills and technology. A new National Specialist Law Enforcement Centre will provide joint training in investigative techniques for officers from the National Criminal Intelligence Service, the Metropolitan Police, the National Crime Squad and HM Customs and Excise. It will be launched in December 2001;

    —  a concerted approach to law enforcement. Through the Concerted Inter-agency Drugs Action Group (see 5.5) Customs and Excise, the National Criminal Intelligence Service, the National Crime Squad and other agencies efforts, are co-ordinated to ensure maximum impact;

    —  funding technical assistance and skills training of overseas drugs law enforcement agencies. The Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office each have budgets specifically for combating drug trafficking and related activities (such as money laundering);

    —  depriving criminals of their assets. Confiscating assets and preventing money laundering reduce the incentives for crime and remove an important source of finance for criminal enterprises. The Proceeds of Crime Bill will reform and unify the criminal law on money laundering (see 5.11-5.12).

Evidence and Rationale

  5.4  There has been increasing focus on proactive intelligence-based activities aimed at disrupting the flow of drugs to the UK; disrupting the organised criminal gangs responsible and tackling the profitability of these activities through enhanced forfeiture of assets. Importantly, in April this year the Government announced targets for increasing seizures of heroin and cocaine, between now and 2003-04, broadly consistent with delivery of the Public Service Agreement outcome target. At the same time, targets for disruptions of organised drugs smuggling gangs and forfeiture of assets for 2001-02 were announced. The Government is committed to doubling assets seized by 2004.


  5.5  The Concerted Inter-Agency Drug Action Group (CIDA) is responsible for driving achievement of the availability reduction target. It is chaired by Customs and Excise and includes representatives of all those Government Departments which have a role in reducing drug availability, including: the National Crime Squad, National Criminal Intelligence Service, the Association of Chief Police Officers, Home Office, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Cabinet Office, the Scottish Drug Enforcement Agency and other agencies.

  5.6  An action plan to target middle market suppliers selling quantities between 1 and 5 kilogrammes is being developed. This includes, for example, the use of Confiscated Asset Funds to support a pilot in the West Midlands to tackle middle markets, which will be evaluated, and the development of similar projects in other cities.

  5.7  The International Group, the UK's inter-agency co-ordinating policy group chaired by Director, International Security (FCO) sets the overarching policy for the UK's strategy for interdicting illegal drugs overseas.

  5.8  Operational activity is also co-ordinated by CIDA which has put in place an end-to-end multi-agency strategy of interdiction aimed at disrupting and destroying heroin and cocaine supply from source to UK streets. The strategy encompasses a range of operational, intelligence and diplomatic activity in key source and transit regions. It includes programmes aimed at building the legal and law enforcement infrastructure of key countries, including training and support programmes, to complement our upstream disruption activities where traffickers are often more vulnerable and move drugs in larger consignments.

  5.9  Examples of assistance provided by the UK under the various strategies include: drug crop and yield surveys in the Andean Region and Afghanistan; regional law enforcement capacity building in the Balkans and Caribbean; strategic analysis of the drugs trade identifying intelligence gaps; intelligence and disruption programmes in South America and against key trafficking routes in Pakistan.

The Confiscated Assets Fund

  5.10  Since 1999 the Confiscated Assets Fund has enabled some £15 million seized from drug traffickers to be channelled into prevention, treatment and enforcement activities in support of the anti-drugs strategy. Following the publication of the Performance and Innovation Unit's report Recovering the Proceeds of Crime in June 2000, the Government has stepped up its effort to use asset recovery and seizure as a means of combating drug trafficking and other forms of organised crime.

  5.11  The Proceeds of Crime Bill, expected to be introduced shortly, will aim to enhance the capability of law enforcement agencies to get at the traffickers' illegal proceeds and disrupt their operations. This will include the establishment of a new Asset Recovery Agency. As part of this strategy, the Confiscated Assets Fund will, from April 2002, be subsumed into a Recovered Assets Fund with a wider remit. As well as supporting anti-drugs activities, the Fund will also support local crime reduction initiatives, law enforcement and financial investigation.


  5.12  As well as funding law enforcement assistance projects overseas, the UK actively promotes effective international co-operation against drugs and drug related crime in three main ways: law enforcement activity in liaison with foreign counterparts; bilateral diplomatic activity, backed up by assistance to foreign governments; and, multilateral engagement, for example via the UN, the European Union, the Financial Action Task Force and the G8.

European Union

  5.13  On 9 March 2000, the Prime Minister announced a UK initiative to step up EU action against drugs. This initiative's ultimate goal is to achieve drug-free societies in an enlarged European Union. Its specific aims include: promoting early progress toward common minimum penalties throughout the EU for trafficking in drugs that cause the most harm; improving the collection and comparability of EU data on drug misuse, drug-related deaths and illness, availability of drugs and drug-related crime; increasing exchange of information on what works in tackling all aspects of drug misuse; and providing greater assistance to the applicant countries to help them to tackle their drug problems.

  5.14  Key elements of this initiative were successfully woven into the EU Action Plan on Drugs 2000-04 which was agreed by EU Ministers in June 2000. Work is now under way on common minimum/maximum EU penalties for drug trafficking; and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction is making good progress on work to collect and disseminate comparable data on drug misuse.

  5.15  Many of the applicant countries hoping to enter the EU in the next few years are on established routes for the distribution of heroin to the UK, and therefore of vital strategic importance to the development of the UK's policy of upstream disruption. Help to the EU applicant countries, and to other countries in South East Europe, to counter drug misuse and trafficking is therefore being significantly increased. The UK is the lead EU partner in a six million euro law enforcement project starting this autumn across 10 candidate countries. The UK is also involved in anti-drugs twinning projects in Bulgaria and Romania.

  5.16  The UK is playing a leading part in a number of other EU external drugs initiatives. These include the EU Caribbean Drugs Initiative and the EU Latin American/Caribbean Drugs Co-ordination and Co-operation Mechanism. These initiatives combine EU funding for technical and training assistance to the countries in the region with activities designed to encourage the countries to take action against their own developing domestic drug problems, thereby contributing towards the overall anti-drugs strategy.

Other Overseas Drugs Assistance

  5.17  The UK provides significant funding assistance and recognised expertise to other countries in tackling their drug problems, whether it is production, trafficking or consumption. Assistance comes from a number of sources, primarily the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development, the Home Office and UK enforcement agencies. In 2000/01 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office contributed some £6.7 million to overseas anti-drugs projects, while the Home Office provided just under £2 million. Budgets for 2001/02 are £7.3 million (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) and £2.1 million (Home Office).

  5.18  The UK has been a major donor to the UN Drug Control Programme, which is the only global drug authority. Examples of programmes supported by UK funds have been law enforcement training in Brazil, Iran, the central Asian republics and the joint UNDCP/EU Phare assistance programme for strengthening drugs law enforcement capabilities in Romania, Bulgaria and Macedonia.

  5.19  Other bilateral drugs-related assistance has been targeted mainly at the Caribbean, Latin America and Asia. Recent and ongoing assistance includes the British Military and Advisory Training Team based in Antigua, sniffer dog training to Caribbean enforcement agencies and training in other Customs and Excise search techniques in Cuba and Colombia.

Preventing the diversion of precursor chemicals

  5.20  Trade in precursor chemicals both within the EU and with third countries is carefully controlled by means of an EU Regulation and Directive, which have been in force since 1993. The aim is to prevent the diversion of precursor chemicals used to make illicit drugs, while causing the minimum inconvenience to licit trade. The UK fully supports international work through the EU and UN on preventing the diversion of chemical precursors. For example, the National Criminal Intelligence Service is taking a leading role in a global operation to disrupt the supply of acetic anhydride, the favoured precursor used in the production of heroin. This important project is fully consistent with UK strategy to reduce the supply of Class "A" drugs.

Drug Liaison Officers

  5.21  Customs and Excise and the National Criminal Intelligence Service have an extensive network of Drug Liaison Officers posted overseas. The National Criminal Intelligence Service is responsible for managing the European Drug Liaison Officers. The wider global Drug Liaison Officers' network, with officers based in the key drug producing and transit countries, is managed by Customs and Excise. They combine to form an effective force in the UK's action against drugs, identifying illicit drug movements, the related financial activities and the structure of criminal organisations involved, as well as contributing hard intelligence for use in overseas and UK investigations.


  6.1  One of the key principles underpinning the Strategy is changing spending priorities from reactive expenditure—dealing with the consequences of failure to tackle drug misuse—to proactive expenditure—preventing and tackling drug misuse directly.

  6.2  The Government has made available substantial resources for directly tackling the problem of drug misuse. These are planned to increase from £700m in 2000-2001 to over £1 billion in 2003-2004.

  6.3  Details are set out in the tables below.

Key expenditure figures


2000 Spending Review—resources directly allocated for tackling drug misuse (by main aim of Tackling drugs to build a better Britain)*

Drug Treatment**
Protecting Young People
Safeguarding Communities
Reducing Availability***

  *  Excludes expenditure by devolved administration.

  **  Comprises mainstream spending by Department of Health, local authorities and the pooled National Treatment Agency budget. Excludes additional Prison Service treatment spend, brigaded under Communities.

  ***  UK spend for 2001-2002 to 2003-2004 includes the £90 million approved for combating organised crime.

2000 Spending Review—new resources provided for related programmes*

Criminal Justice System
Neighbourhood Renewal Fund
Children's Fund

  *  Excludes expenditure by devolved administration.

  **  This was added to existing provision for the careers service. Funding will go to the careers service in areas where Connexions is not yet running.

  ***  Provision for 2003-04 will be announced in due course.

Budget 2001—new resources for anti-drugs measures*

Strengthening communities
Extending drug testing in the CJS
Providing more help to find jobs
Strengthening Drug Action Teams
Expanding Positive Futures

  *  Excludes expenditure by devolved administration.

  **  Provision to be decided in the light of other sources of funding.


  7.1  For the Government's 10-year anti-drugs strategy to be effective, it is crucial that clear information is obtained on the size of the drug problem in the UK, and on which anti-drug approaches are most successful. The strategy's research programme therefore supports each of the four key aims. The key objectives of the research programme are to: track the progress of the strategy's key targets; provide evidence on the extent of drug use and drug markets in the UK; and evaluate the effectiveness of approaches seeking to reduce drug use.

  7.2  Before the creation of the strategy, the UK evidence base on illicit drug use was widely viewed as being very limited. Basic information was not available on vital areas and Government research was not well co-ordinated. The limited information sources available to policy makers and practitioners at the beginning of the strategy are briefly outlined below.

  7.3  Young people: Prior to the introduction of the drugs strategy in 1998, evidence of drug usage among the adult population was provided by the British Crime Survey. Information on young people was poor in its coverage and unreliable in its findings. Very little information was available beyond basic levels of drug use. UK evidence on effective ways of reducing drug use among young people was extremely limited.

  7.4  Communities: some information was available on drug use among criminal offenders in prison. There was limited information on drug use among the wider offender population and on the links between drugs consumption and criminal activity.

  7.5  Treatment: some clinical evidence was available on the impact of various drug treatment programmes. However, many therapeutic and treatment measures remained under-researched.

  7.6  Availability: the main information sources were official figures on seizures and convictions for drug possession and supply. There were no accurate estimates of the amount of heroin and cocaine imported or consumed in UK. There was no robust UK evidence on the effectiveness of anti-trafficking methods or the policing of local and regional drug markets.

  7.7  The Home Office's Drug and Alcohol Research Unit manages the budget for the strategy's research programme. The programme's budget up to the financial year 2000/01 was £2 million per annum. It is now £3 million per annum. Details of how this budget has been spent over the last three financial years are outlined below.

Drug Strategy Research Budget—expenditure 1999/2000 to 2001/02

Total expenditure
Young people
Total spend

  7.8  To address the gaps in the UK evidence base, a number of key projects have been commissioned as part of the research programme. A nationally representative school survey of 11 to 15 year olds now provides an insight into drug use among young people, and helps track the strategy's young people's target. Urine testing and surveys of arrestees in police custody now provide a clearer view of the links between drug use and criminal offending, and the extent of drug-related crime. Epidemiological work will provide up-to-date estimates on the number of dependent drug users in the UK and on the proportion not in treatment; estimates have been provided on the size of the UK's heroin and cocaine market, against which law enforcement seizures can be compared.

  7.9  Drug misuse has also been prioritised within the Department of Health's policy research programme. £2.4m has been spent on 17 research programmes covering models of care for drug users, dual diagnosis and co-morbidity of substance misuse and mental health, waiting times, young people's drug use and long-term heavy cannabis use. In addition, a further £1.5m is being spent on research into Hepatitis C.

  7.10  The strategy's research programme has led to a number of research studies which have been published or will be published in the near future. These include:

    —  E. Goddard and V. Higgins. (2000). Drug use, smoking and drinking among young teenagers in 1999. ONS. London: The Stationery Office.

    —  E. Bramley-Harker. (September 2001). Sizing the UK market for illicit drugs. Home Office Research, Development and Statistics, Occasional Paper No. 74.

    —  T. Bennett, K. Holloway and T. Williams. (September 2001). Drug Use and Offending: summary results from the first year of the NEW-ADAM research programme. Home Office Research, Development and Statistics, Research Findings No. 119.

    —  M. Ramsay, P. Baker, C. Goulden, C. Sharp and A. Sondhi (September 2001). Drug Misuse Declared in 2000: results from the British Crime Survey. Home Office Research, Development and Statistics, Research Study No. 224.

    —  C. Goulden and A. Sondhi. (Forthcoming—November 2001). At the Margins: drug use by vulnerable young people in the 1998/99 Youth Lifestyles Survey. Home Office Research, Development and Statistics, Research Study.

    —  E. Goddard. (Forthcoming—November 2001). The Value and Feasibility of a National Survey of Drug Use among Adults in the UK. Office of National Statistics Website.

    —  R. Lupton, A. Wilson, T. May, H. Warburton and P. Turnbull. (Forthcoming—January 2002). A Rock and a Hard Place: the impact of and responses to drug markets in deprived neighbourhoods. Home Office Research, Development and Statistics, Research Study.

    —  G. Pearson and D. Hobbs. (Forthcoming—January 2002). Middle Market Drug Distribution. Home Office Research, Development and Statistics, Research Study.

September 2001

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