On Wednesday 2 November, DrugScope held a conference attended by over 100 DrugScope members and stakeholders.The conference, which sold out weeks before the event, brought leading experts and practitioners in the field of substance use, drug treatment, recovery and public health together for a day of lively debate and discussion.The keynote speaker, Lord Henley, Minister of State for Crime Prevention and Anti-Social Behaviour Reduction at the Home Office, gave his first address to the substance use sector, in which he outlined plans for the ongoing implementation of the 2010 drug strategy.
The day was themed ‘Rising to the challenge’ and speakers responded to the many changes to the national and local policy landscape that will have significant implications for the delivery of services to people experiencing problems with drugs and alcohol.
Paul Hayes, CEO of the National Treatment Agency, discussed the opportunities created by the transition to Public Health England; Tim Hollis, Chair of ACPO Drugs Committee, discussed policing in an age of austerity and Jeremy Swain, CEO Thamesreach, discussed the complexities of helping people with multiple needs. Professor John Ashton, Director of Public Health in Cumbria and Dominic Harrison, Director of Public Health for NHS Blackburn with Darwen offered varied insights into how public health professionals will manage their new responsibilities in tackling substance use, and Joy Barlow, Head of Strategy at STRADA spoke on developing a workforce able to respond to the recovery agenda.
Leading members of the burgeoning recovery movement spoke in an engaging panel discussion, and delegates enjoyed a range of workshops informing them of implications for practice emerging from research on new drugs and legal highs, practical aspects of recovery, bringing about positive change in street drinkers and the provision of care for pregnant drug users.Participants came from a variety of backgrounds and included drug workers, managers, commissioners, recovery activists and service user representatives and academics.
Lord Henley, Minister of State for Crime Prevention and Anti-Social Behaviour Reduction at the Home Office, commented:
“We want people to take responsibility for their actions and free themselves from the vicious cycle of drug and alcohol dependency, which is why the cross-government Drugs Strategy has recovery as its main focus.I am encouraged to see such a wide range of specialists from the drug and alcohol sector working in partnership to make recovery a reality for people across the country who are affected by substance misuse.”
Martin Barnes, Chief Executive of DrugScope, said:
“We are pleased that DrugScope has again been able to attract such high quality speakers, and delighted to have the opportunity to welcome Lord Henley to give his first address to our sector.Delegates came ready to participate and engaged with a broad spectrum of ideas and opinions about the future development of the substance misuse sector, treatment and supporting recovery.Despite the many challenges of the times, delegates exemplified the passion, pride and professionalism of the sector.”