The appointment comes at a crucial time for the drug and alcohol treatment and support sector, with serious insecurity over the future of funding as part of local government’s public health grant, record highs in drug-related deaths, an ageing cohort of opiate users and a recent rise in numbers of people using crack.
Reductions in funding are forcing the local authorities responsible for commissioning treatment to restrict the services they offer their communities. We believe protected investment in treatment is the most important step that can be taken to reduce the toll of drug-related deaths and enable some of our most vulnerable citizens to enjoy the life changing benefits of recovery.
At a time of legitimate concerns over the links between drug markets and serious violence, treatment will also be a key strategic driver in reducing demand by building recovery in communities up and down the land.
It is heartening to read that he’ll also be focused on stigma. Collective Voice members would welcome Dr Day to any service to explore this topic with the real experts: those with lived experience of drug or alcohol problems and some of the wider issues that frequently occur alongside.
All of which means that Dr Day’s work, as well as that of Dame Carol Black, will be vital in the coming years in championing the transformative power of treatment and recovery. This can only be delivered by a whole system approach, with voluntary sector and NHS providers, commissioners, Directors of Public Health and other local actors working together within a robust framework of national policy and funding to address the health inequalities of local communities and save lives through the delivery of effective, evidence-based and person centred support. We look forward to working with both Dr Day and Dame Black to make this happen.