Home Affairs Committee - Drugs: Breaking the CycleWritten evidence submitted by Bryan and Judith Spence [DP199]

We recently attended the International Conference on Drug Policy. We wish to add the following points to what was said:

There needs to be clear distinction between people imprisoned for Drugs Crimes (eg supply) and those who are addicts but who are imprisoned for other crimes—this was not clear at the Conference. This may change what treatment they are offered.

When considering the stats for any rehabilitation, whether residential or community based, thought needs to be given to whether periods of detoxification are included or not. We have found that approximately 33% of admissions to our rehab leave during their detox period so this skews statistics for those programs that provide both detoxification and rehabilitation.

Costs of rehabilitation, both community based and residential, should be weighed up not only against costs of maintenance on substitutes such as methadone and subutex, but also against the cost of an untreated addict and the finances and time that they use up with Police, NHS, and the community as a whole through crime.

The involvement of Big Society in Drug Policy could be emphasised more. There are many voluntary sector drop-in centres, residential rehabs and outreach programs that do a tremendous work but they are not included in any stats as they are not answerable to a central body.

Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to this Select Committee.

Bryan and Judith Spence

September 2012

Prepared 8th December 2012