Dependent individuals should always be cared for and treated without being stigmatised, whatever their particular circumstances. For those individuals who become casualties of substance misuse and are in police custody, these guidelines offer a humane response, with provision for care and treatment. They are flexible tools designed to accommodate changes in the nature and extent of substance misuse in the community, as well as changes in national policy and strategy, together with new developments in the care and management of susbtance-dependent individuals.

Throughout these guidelines it is made clear that the treatment of substance misuse should be in line with sound medical practice and should not be used as an instrument to establish or maintain control. The criminal justice system should offer substance misusers an opportunity for treatment and recovery.

The overriding principle of care for offenders who are substance misusers and who are in custody must be their safety and the treatment of suffering that occurs as a result of substance intoxication or withdrawal. When care is delivered to a high standard, the correct balance will be achieved between different factors such as the need for due process in proceedings to safeguard civil rights, treatment needs and other humani- tarian requirements as well as enforcement objectives.

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