Putting Full Recovery First’ is the Government’s “Road Map to Recovery” published on behalf of the Inter Ministerial Group on Drugs by The Home Office at the end of March 2012.

While The Alliance welcomes government intentions to describe its approach to meeting the challenges of drug and alcohol and the joint consideration of alcohol and drugs in the document, we believe “Putting Full Recovery First” is problematic,

Firstly it proposes that we should restrict and withdraw access to lifesaving treatment for many thousands of vulnerable people. It redefines recovery to exclude people in receipt of substitution medication – like methadone or buprenorphine.

It represents a break with the internationally accepted clinical evidence about what makes drug treatment effective. In doing so it risks the health and well being of families and communities – multiplying the dangers of HIV and other blood born viruses and increasing crime.

Ken Stringer, Director of The Alliance said:

“I’d like to know how the risk assessment was undertaken for this policy –  what’s going to be the impact on crime? How will it affect health – and healthcare? We also need a much broader consultation. If we are going to completely change our approach to drug treatment, we need to talk to the people who use it - and their families and carers.

“In what looks like a rush to achieve abstinence for all  described as ‘full recovery” – and costs savings –  we risk forgetting the lessons we have learned over the past 25 years that have placed us at the forefront of evidence based drug policies.

“This is coming at a time when some commissioners and providers are already abandoning the evidence base. We’ve got huge changes to our local and national health services, and some very confused people out there. This isn’t going to help and I am afraid if we are not careful, we could end up measuring the impact of this policy in lives lost”

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