Government responds to the Black Review

The government has published its initial response to the second part of Dame Carol Black’s independent review of drugs.

The second part of the Black Review made 32 recommendations that, taken together, would signify a dramatic overhaul of drug treatment, recovery and prevention services. Much of the government’s response will rest on the outcome of this year’s Spending Review. However, this initial response does include some key commitments:

  1. There will be a new long-term drugs strategy published by the end of 2021. The government is committed “to engage widely on the approach and interventions within the strategy across a wide range of sectors and the whole system of combating drug misuse”.
  2. A national outcomes framework is being developed.
  3. Dame Carol Black will continue to act as an independent advisor, sitting on a “combating drugs delivery board” to oversee the work of the Drugs Unit, including representation from the six key departments, the Treasury, and No. 10, and Dr Ed Day.
  4. The new drugs programme will produce an annual report for Parliament, starting in 2022, which will report on progress against the outcomes framework.
  5. A local outcomes framework and a commissioning quality standard (both recommended by the Black Review) will also be drafted “in consultation with the local system”.

The government’s response also includes statements on addressing illicit drug use and attitudes to drugs in society. The new drug strategy will prioritise enforcement and societal behaviours/attitudes towards drugs as well as drug treatment, recovery and prevention.

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