Drugs policy inquiry launched

04 February 2019

Government's stated intention in its 2017 drug strategy is to reduce all illicit and other harmful drug use, and increase the rate of individuals recovering from their dependence.  The Health and Social Care Committee is seeking written submissions on the health consequences of illicit drugs policy.

Although drug use has broadly decreased over the past decade, use remains high relative to comparable countries and drug related deaths are almost three times the European average. This raises concern around the Government’s current policy stance and drug use and interventions in practice. 

Terms of Reference

The Committee is seeking written submissions on the health consequences of illicit drugs policy including on:

Health and harms:  

  • What is the extent of health harms resulting from drug use? 

Prevention and early intervention:  

  • What are the reasons for both the initial and the continued, sustained use of drugs? This refers to the wide spectrum of use, from high-risk use to the normalisation of recreational use. 
  • How effective and evidence-based are strategies for prevention and early intervention in managing and countering the drivers of use? This includes whether a whole-system approach is taken. 

Treatment and harm reduction:  

  • How effective and evidence-based is treatment provision? This refers to both healthcare services and wider agencies, and the extent to which joined-up care pathways operate. 
  • Is policy is sufficiently geared towards treatment? This includes the extent to which health is prioritised, in the context of the Government’s criminal justice-led approach. 

Best practice: 

  • What would a high-quality, evidence-based response to drugs look like? 
  • What responses to drugs internationally stand out as particularly innovative and / or relevant, and what evidence is there of impact in these cases? 

The closing date for written submissions is Monday 18 March 2019. Those sending written submissions should not feel they need to comment on every area mentioned. Submissions should not exceed 3000 words.

Further information

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