Working in Partnership to Tackle Drug Misuse

criminal justice

health & social care

local government

voluntary sector

08:45 - 16:40

Wednesday 9 May 2018

The Hatton- etc Venues, Central London

This Forum provides the opportunity to hear from organisations at the forefront of tackling drug misuse. The latest, evidence-based strategies, focusing on inter-agency collaboration, high-quality treatment services, and prevention programmes, will be explored through a series of best practice case studies. Attendees will also examine the latest policy developments regarding the  2017 Drug Strategy, and how these will affect service provision.


This Forum is specifically designed for the Criminal Justice, Health and Social Care, and Voluntary Sectors including Justice Leads, Senior Policy Officers, Service Delivery Managers, Public Health Specialists, Support Workers, Community Health and Wellbeing Officers, Housing Managers, Headteachers, PSHE Subject Teachers. This Forum is also open to the Private sector to encourage debate and networking.

Key Speakers Confirmed:
  • Senior Representative, Home Office
  • Commander Simon Bray, Drugs Lead, National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC)
  • Dr Owen Bowden-Jones, Consultant in Addiction Psychiatry and Honorary Senior Lecturer, Imperial College London and Chair, Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD)
  • Pete Burkinshaw, Alcohol, Drugs, and Tobacco, Health Improvement, Public Health England (PHE)
  • Mike Dixon, Chief Executive, Addaction
  • Ron Hogg, County Durham and Darlington, Police, Crime, and Victims’ Commissioner (PCVC)
*Click here to see other speakers and detailed programme*


Policy Background

The 2018 Serious Violence Strategy highlighted the strong link between drugs and serious violence, as well as the related harm and exploitation from county lines, with homicides where either the vicitim or suspect were known to be involved in using or dealing illicit drugs increased from 50% to 57%.

2.7 million 16-59 year olds in England and Wales reported using illicit drugs in the year 2015-2016, a total of 8.4% of the population, which rises to 18% when considering just 16-24 year olds. The number of drug-related deaths has risen to 2,479, a 10.3% increase on the previous year, having increased by 14.9% the year before, and 19.6% the year before that. The social and economic cost of drug supply and its associated crimes is estimated to be £10.7 billion a year.

In addition to the 2018 Serious Violence Strategy which is framed around tackling county lines and misuse of drugs, in July 2017, the Government published its Drug Strategy which announced a series of new approaches. It is designed to tackle drug misuse by focusing on the role of communities in public health recovery programmes, and adapting to the challenges presented by the evolving nature of drug markets and patterns of use. The strategy will strengthen collaboration and co-ordination between the criminal justice system, health, social care, housing and employment, in order to provide a holistic support system that improves both prevention and recovery.

It is therefore imperative that service providers from across the public sector including the criminal justice system, NHS, Social Care and Local Authorities are equipped to create and implement partnerships that are able to effectively address drug misuse. It is crucial that these networks are able to successfully provide tailored support to aid recovery and rehabilitation, and that education is used as a tool to enable prevention, in order to reduce the social and economic cost of drug misuse and crimes.

View the Agenda


Registration, Refreshments and Networking


Chair's Welcome Address

Dr Raffaella Margherita Milani, Course Leader Substance Use and Misuse Studies, University of West London (CONFIRMED)


Morning Keynote: Implementing the 2017 Drug Strategy - The Government’s Perspective

  • Emphasising the importance and need for partnerships across the public sector at a local, national and international level
  • Reducing illicit and other harmful drug use by improving identification of problem areas and measuring frequency of drug use locally and nationally
  • Improving preventative techniques, with a focus on building resilience and confidence in young people to ultimately reduce the risk of drug misuse
  • Ensuring that treatment provided is of high quality, and appropriately targeted, taking into account differing individual needs

Senior Representative, Home Office (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Improving Collaboration across Sectors to Effectively Tackle Drug Misuse

  • Co-ordinating the national response to drug misuse, to facilitate service transformation and information management
  • Exploring the implications for tackling drug misuse through the implementation of the Policing Vision 2025
  • Adapting to the evolving nature of drug misuse, and its related crimes, with particular reference to the rise of digitalisation and globalisation
  • Considering methods to improve integrated working practices between the police, health, and social services

Commander Simon Bray, Drugs Lead, NPCC (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Policing and Local Partnerships - Understanding and Sharing ‘What Works’

  • Driving forward the local response to the growing challenges of drug misuse in our communities
  • Developing targeted, multi-agency responses to address the complex underlying factors behind destructive drug use
  • Encouraging joint ownership and shared commitment between partners to effectively co-ordinate the actions of public services and voluntary organisations
  • Supporting continued dialogue between the local and the national, to share learning and feed in expertise

PCC Hardyal Dhindsa, National Lead on Alcohol and Substance Misuse, APCC (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking Session


Case Study: Creating an Effective Collaborative Rehabilitation Service for Substance Misusers with Mental Health Issues

  • Providing an integrated drug treatment service between Blenheim, Tower Hamlets local authority and East London NHS Foundation Trust
  • Sharing insights on designing an effective and comprehensive support system based around structured, group work interventions for drug users who have mental health issues
  • Offering tailored rehabilitation and counselling services, which are able to be adapted to each individual’s needs, as well as the possibility of onward referrals to further support if needed
  • Designing a holistic support service, which ranges from nurse appointments to counselling, and advice on accessing education and employment to further rehabilitation opportunities

Jo Choi, Director of Services, Blenheim (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Integrating Successful Drug Education and Preventative Schemes into the School Curriculum

  • Supporting Local Authorities and schools to implement best practice in drug education through the Alcohol and Drug Education Prevention Information Scheme (ADEPIS) which promotes sharing of information and resources
  • Outlining the Quality Standards created to ensure effective drug education in primary and secondary schools, the ability to address drugs in a school context, and awareness on the importance of safeguarding
  • Detailing the strategies shared in the prevention resources available for schools, covering the importance of being inclusive to all backgrounds in the classroom
  • Promoting the use of schemes to build resilience, such as the Good Behaviour Game which improves behaviour and attainment, as a means of preventing risk-taking behaviour leading to substance misuse

Michael O’Toole, Chief Executive, Mentor UK (CONFIRMED)


Case Study: Providing a Holistic Drug Treatment Programme - A Housing Association Perspective

  • Offering a unique service to people recovering from drug misuse as the only housing association which specialises in substance misuse recovery and rehabilitation
  • Highlighting the strong evidence base in support of recovery housing schemes, and the potential cost benefits, as the scheme costs approximately £7,300 in contrast to the estimated £20,000 in usual support costs
  • Detailing the four stage process of recovery integrated into the types of accommodation and levels of support provided as part of the housing scheme
  • Exploring lessons learnt from developing housing models, considering further opportunities and risks, particularly when implementing successful housing rehabilitation programmes in Local Authorities without pre-existing specialist systems

Karen Biggs, Chief Executive, Phoenix Futures (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Lunch and Networking


Afternoon Keynote: Making the Case for a Safer Drug Policy

  • Are law enforcement and harm reduction approaches always at odds, or is beneficial cooperation possible?
  • Can police unlearn counterproductive, repressive responses and support health-based approaches instead?

Ron Hogg, County Durham and Darlington, Police, Crime, and Victims’ Commissioner (PCVC) (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Working in Partnership to Tackle Drug Misuse Deaths through the Provision and Implementation of Drug Treatment Programmes

  • Outlining the findings of the 2017 review to determine the outcomes of drug treatment programmes in England, which demonstrate that whilst the system is working well, as 60% of all opiate users are in treatment, the number of drug-related deaths is rising
  • Detailing the overall net benefit-cost ratio, which is estimated at 2.5-1, of investing in drug treatments in order to reduce social costs relating to drug misuse
  • Integrating healthcare with drug treatment to address the recent increase in the number of drug-related deaths
  • Strengthening links between the criminal justice system and drug treatment, including between prison and community-based treatment

Pete Burkinshaw, Alcohol, Drugs, and Tobacco, Health Improvement, Public Health England (CONFIRMED)


Special Keynote: Highlighting Areas of Improvement across Drug Policy through Evidence-Based Reviews

  • Contributing to the 2017 Drugs Strategy by providing independent advice on the nature and prevalence of drug misuse across the UK, gathered by mapping a range of drug users
  • Recommending that drug misuse treatments and services should be mandated within Local Authority and/or be part of NHS commissioning structures
  • Challenging disinvestment by ensuring transparency and clear financial reporting on local drug misuse treatment services
  • Reviewing workforce structures to improve the training that is currently being provided and finding the balance between unqualified staff and structures

Dr Owen Bowden-Jones, Consultant in Addiction Psychiatry and Honorary Senior Lecturer, Imperial College London and Chair, Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Refreshments and Networking


Case Study: Tackling Drug Misuse and Supply in Prisons

  • Outlining the issue of drug misuse and supply in prisons, particularly highlighting the impact of psychoactive substances
  • Setting up a specific taskforce to reduce both the supply and use of drugs in the prison service with cross-Government support from health and law enforcement bodies
  • Improving the continuity of care as offenders return to the community through developing comprehensive recovery programmes
  • Emphasising the importance of collaborating with local partners in the public and voluntary sector to achieve a reduction in drug misuse

Ian Blakeman, National Lead for HMPPS Drug Strategy, HM Prison and Probation Service (CONFIRMED)


Closing Keynote: Designing an Effective Drug Misuse Scheme - From Referral to Recovery

  • Providing specialist and tailored support to those who misuse drugs, focusing on changing behaviour as a means of rehabilitation
  • Exploring the criteria of a successful and effective recovery and rehabilitation service, which focuses on creating a person-centred process with the support of family and friends
  • Demonstrating the range of collaborative partnerships utilised as part of the daily operations, and how these can be replicated across the UK
  • Sharing insights, based upon research undertaken, on the future challenges for drug misuse service providers, which include transitions in the age range of users, the types of substances misused, and societal norms, and how best to prepare for these

Mike Dixon, Chief Executive, Addaction (CONFIRMED)


Questions and Answers Session


Chair's Closing Remarks

*Programme subject to change

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