The project was a pilot that was focussed on working with Black and Minority Ethnic communities (BAME) to:

  • Increase community awareness of the relationship between drug policy, inequality and violence in BAME communities;
  • Explore how to build community capacity, leadership and resilience to enable lobbying for change at local, regional and national levels;
  • Establish a multi-platform presence that will increase knowledge and provide leadership and
  • Begin to build an asset-based community development and social action approach in relation to policies and practices that damage BAME communities.

We conclude from this work that more needs to be done to work with Black communities to develop a more informed and rounded position in relation to drugs policy reform. Given the extent to which the “War on Drugs” has been a proxy war on Black people and other poor communities, it is inevitable but unacceptable that Black people in the UK have not been more involved in the debate and campaign for change.

Recommendations

  1. Address structural state racism and inequality in the UK, or drug policy reform will have little traction or impact amongst Black communities.
  2. Increase community access to quality information about drug policy, drugs and their impact to enable the development of sustainable community responses.
  3. Increase community access to education, prevention and treatment interventions around drugs including co-production and delivery.
  4. Continue the progress made as a result of this consultation process in order to develop strong and dynamic Black community perspectives about drugs policy in the UK
  5. A paradigm shift from silo thinking to systems thinking around the impact of all government policies (including drugs) to tackle institutional racism.
  6. Support the progress made as a result of this consultation process in relation to the development of Black community leaders and Black led organisations (such as Blaksox) in order to develop strong and dynamic Black community perspectives about drugs policy in the UK
  7. Include succession planning and “legacy” initiatives within Community leadership projects, actively supported by the local and central government and charitable trusts.

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