criminal justice
health & social care
local government
voluntary sector

Working in Partnership to Tackle Drug Misuse

criminal justice

health & social care

local government

voluntary sector

08:45 - 16:20

Wednesday 8 May 2019

Central London

This Forum will give attendees the opportunity to discuss key issues with leading policymakers across a variety of sectors at the forefront of tackling drug misuse. The latest policy developments concerning the Home Office’s 2017 Drugs Strategy will be discussed, with a particular focus on research-backed, inter-agency and localised approaches to drugs policy. Additionally, best practice case studies will outline proven, effective and innovative strategies in tackling drug misuse problems.


This Forum is specifically designed for the Health and Social Care Sector, Criminal Justice Sector, Housing Associations, Local Government and Voluntary Sector.

Typical job titles will include:

  • Community Health and Wellbeing Officers
  • Drug Service Managers
  • Heads of Drug Strategy
  • Support Workers
  • Safer Community Coordinators
  • Recovery Practitioners
  • Drug and Alcohol Nurses
  • Chief Inspectors
  • Charity Leaders
  • Drug Safety Specialists
  • Prison Drug Practitioners
  • Communities and Neighbourhoods Managers
  • Supported Housing Officers
  • Housing Advisers
  • Drug Support Workers

This Forum is also open to the private sector to encourage debate and networking.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Jason Harwin, Drugs Lead, National Police Chiefs Council
  • Pete Burkinshaw, Alcohol and Drug Treatment and Recovery Lead, Public Health England
  • PCC David Jamieson, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner
  • Richard Pickering, Deputy Director – Drugs Taskforce, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service
View the agenda and additional speakers


The UK has the highest levels of drug overdoses in Europe, with almost one in three of Europe’s overdose deaths, according to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drugs Addiction. Office for National Statistics figures show that the number of deaths related to drug poisoning rose to a record-high 3,756 in England and Wales in 2017, in addition to the increasing usage of new psychoactive substances in homeless and prison populations. Beyond direct health effects, Home Office figures show that the social and economic costs of drug misuse stand at around £10.7 billion a year, with £6 billion of this stemming from associated crimes.

The Home Office’s 2017 Drugs Strategy aimed to provide a comprehensive approach to tackling the above drug misuse problems in the UK. By providing an update from Drug Strategy 2010, the aim of the new strategy was to look at both preventative and recovery-based approaches to reducing drugs misuse. By focusing on new education programmes, tackling supply lines and re-analysing how treatment is perceived, the strategy promotes the use of inter-agency collaboration, community-level action and evidence-driven responses.

If the above strategy is to establish success in reversing the negative trends in drug misuse figures, then cross-sector collaboration is essential. The healthcare sector must work in tandem with criminal justice organisations to ensure collaborative treatment rather than punitive isolation. It is also of upmost importance for the charity sector and housing associations to establish close links to policy drivers, such as local government. In this way, these sectors can best achieve their goals whilst successfully sharing the latest innovative practices in prevention and treatment. Such cross-sector strategic action is imperative to reducing the huge health, social and economic costs of drug misuse.


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair's Welcome Address

Oliver Standing, Director, Collective Voice (CONFIRMED)


Morning Keynote: The 2017 Drugs Strategy - Where Are We Now?

  • Implementing the four key aims of The Home Office’s 2017 Drugs Strategy and understanding where we currently stand in achieving these objectives in tackling drug misuse harms
  • Describing how The Home Office’s £40 million Serious Violence Strategy is part of the department’s efforts to tackle drug-related crimes, including £11 million allocated to the Early Intervention Youth Fund, which aims to prevent vulnerable young people from being drawn into drug gangs
  • Providing an update on The Home Office’s 2018 Review into the Medical Use of Cannabis, whilst also giving a response to separate calls for legal regulated markets for cannabis and drug treatment rooms
  • Developing prevention and recovery mechanisms in collaboration with local authorities, housing associations, charities, schools and NHS units to ensure that individual needs are always taken into account

Katherine Merrifield, Head of the Drug and Alcohol Unit, Home Office (invited)


Special Keynote: Restricting Demand and Providing Effective Treatment to Reduce Drug-related Deaths

  • Linking ex-prisoners immediately with NHS community providers in order to implement the Public Health Outcomes Framework recommendations for the ‘continuity of care’ of ex-prisoners with substance issues
  • Outlining how to make specific prevention mechanism approaches more successful, with a focus on equipping teachers with the tools to best teach PSHE lessons
  • Establishing stronger recovery mechanisms for drug users, including the success of the £80 million Life Chances Fund to help drug dependent adults move into full-time work
  • Providing an update on the success of the NPS intelligence system, which aims to reduce the emerging harms of new psychoactive substances by spreading knowledge to health professionals of their diverse health effects

Pete Burkinshaw, Alcohol and Drug Treatment and Recovery Lead, Public Health England (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Turning Drug-related Crime-Reduction Recommendations into Reality

  • Building on the success of the West Midland’s Turning Point project, which diverts drug abusers from the criminal justice system into proper treatment with NHS Trusts
  • Implementing a Drugs Early Warning Programme, which tackles new emerging drug usage by making health professionals and charities aware of developing drug trends
  • Equipping police offers with naloxone and developing prescribed training for its usage to help those who have overdosed on dangerous drugs
  • Bringing in on-site testing during the evening to reduce deaths and raise intelligence regarding evolving drug trends
  • Considering ‘Drug Consumption Rooms’ and their ability to provide clean equipment and medical support to drive down the dangers associated with drug misuse

PCC David Jamieson, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner (CONFIRMED)


Question and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Tackling Drug Misuse at the Local Authority Level Via Public Health and Policing Partnerships

  • Carrying out an intensive review of drug-related deaths and naloxone implementation scheme alongside the NHS and police to reverse the harmful effects of opiate overdoses
  • Working alongside Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Trust to implement the naloxone scheme, providing kits to at risk people at seven centres and to over half of Newcastle’s supported accommodation
  • Prioritising data sharing between the council, police and NHS services, enabling 450 naloxone kits to be targeted at those recently released from prison or those that have had a recent overdose
  • Working alongside Northumbria Police to implement a Critical Incident Review Procedure which prioritises risk management, intelligence building and workforce development to reduce drug related deaths

Rachel Hope, Community Safety Specialist – Drugs, Newcastle City Council (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Working in Collaboration Across Sectors to Transform Drugs Recovery

  • Achieving effective partnership in local drug abuse treatment by weaving into one staff both the charity sector and NHS, with the aim of improving knowledge behind Aspire’s drug treatment
  • Treating over 1,500 opiate users at one single time by employing mutual learning between sectors, whereby NHS staff provide medical expertise and charity staff share innovative thinking
  • Utilising cross-sector links to build Aspire’s Northern Recovery College, which has successfully brought together local communities on three occasions to co-ordinate grass-roots strategies to tackle drug issues
  • Empowering service users to generate 50% recovery success rates by ensuring that charity-led community reintegration supports the knowledge-backed recovery provided by NHS staff

Stuart Green, Drug and Alcohol Service Manager, Aspire Drug and Alcohol Services (CONFIRMED)


Question and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Special Keynote: Presenting a Local Policing Vision for Tackling New Drug Risks

  • Outlining how local policing prioritisation, as set out in Policing Vision 2025, has shaped better management of drug misuse reduction strategies
  • Demonstrating successful joint approaches alongside the National Crime Agency and College of Policing to improve understanding of different crime groups
  • Exploring information gathering and dissemination with close reference to tackling new risks to young people, including an update on steps towards festival drug testing
  • Considering how digital online policing approaches have been effective in tackling crime groups and county lines

Jason Harwin, Drugs Lead, National Police Chiefs Council (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Eliminating Drugs Misuse Within Prisons

  • Driving forward the Drugs Taskforce, which drives action across the prison estate to tackle prison drugs, such as psychoactive substances, and drug gangs within prisons
  • Publishing the 2018 National Partnership Agreement, which drives forward a partnership with police and the NHS to strengthen drug misuse services in prisons by building evidence and trialing new technology
  • Implementing the Ten Prisons Project, which included £6 million of funding to fight drug entry and use within ten prisons via investment in drug-detection dogs, improved perimeter control and more advanced body scanners
  • Building on the Drug Recovery Prison pilot to tackle drug misuse across a wider range of prisons and ensure that the pilot informs future strategies across prison estates

Richard Pickering, Deputy Director – Drugs Taskforce, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Providing an Insight into Britain’s First ‘Drug Recovery Prison’

  • Implementing a £9 million ‘recovery prison’, which aims to restrict drugs supply, reduce consumption and tackle addiction within HMP Holme House
  • Sharing how new body scanner technology and a dedicated drug search team have reduced the entry of news drugs, such as ‘Spice’, into the prison
  • Outlining how dedicated drug-reduction staff, including specialist psychologists, have achieved a transitioning of prisoners towards more positive mindsets
  • Implementing community councils within the prison to enable feedback-led service user forums
  • Working with charity Change Grow Live to implement a ‘Connecting Communities’ approach to successfully bridge the gap between prisons and local areas
  • Providing drug treatment appointments, accommodation, financial advice and aiding family engagement to better achieve a life beyond drugs

Chris Dyer, Governor, HMP Holme House (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Breaking Down Barriers to Reaching Out for Drug Treatment

  • Providing forward-thinking treatment and recovery services on behalf of local authorities to over 30% of all people in drug and alcohol treatment in London
  • Leading drug treatment innovation with WDP’s ‘Capital Card’, which uses a reward scheme to exchange hours in treatment for points towards fun activities, successfully encouraging over 5,000 drug users to engage in drugs treatment
  • Making links with higher education institutions, such as London South Bank University, to drive quantitative analysis so that the charity’s services are deriving the highest possible value
  • Promoting in-house drug policy innovation via WDP’s Bright Ideas Scheme, which rewards innovative in-house treatment ideas, ultimately resulting in high-impact schemes such as Capital Card

Awarded Digital Innovation of the Year at the Third Sector Excellence Awards 2018 for ‘Capital Card’

Manish Nanda, Chief Executive, Westminster Drug Project (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Implementing a Housing Sector Solution to Drugs Treatment

  • Bringing together housing association and charity services by providing residential and housing services alongside community care services to support over 21,000 drug users in 2017
  • Uniquely recognising that stable, supportive accommodation is the first step towards recovery, evidenced in 80% of users who complete the Phoenix Futures housing programme remaining drug free in the year after leaving the programme
  • Ensuring the housing association is working closely with prisons, police units and mental health care providers, resulting in 90% of users stopping committing crime offences and 75% reporting improvements in their mental health
  • Implementing a Housing First approach to dedicate 82% of Phoenix Futures’ housing stock to supportive housing for drug users, with 85% of residents managing their own housing stock after leaving

Awarded Highly Commended for Provider of Specialist Supported Housing at Chartered Institute of Housing Awards 2017

Vicky Ball, Head of Housing, Phoenix Futures Housing Association (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair's Closing Remarks

*Programme Subject to Change

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