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Mental health & multiple need

DrugScope has consistently highlighted the links between mental health and drug and alcohol problems, with research suggesting that three quarters of people in substance misuse services have a co-occurring mental health problem. While there is recognition of the need for integrated treatment responses and care pathways, and significant progress has been made on ‘dual diagnosis’, we are committed to ensuring that the challenges of working with co-morbidity are a focus for policy development, system design and service delivery.

Drug and alcohol problems rarely occur in isolation, and are often a cause and sympton of social exclusion and marginalisation. Many people with substance misuse problems have ‘multiple needs’, including experience of trauma and abuse, homelessness, lack of meaningful activity, and a history of offending. DrugScope works with representative organisations in other policy sectors to provide voice and representation for the most marginalised.

Recent DrugScope Activity

Our recent work on mental health and complex need includes:

Positive practice guide for working with people who use drugs and alcohol (2012) (PDF). DrugScope has lobbied the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme to increase its involvement with people with drug and alcohol problems. This resulted in the publication of a ‘positive practice guide’, which was co-produced by DrugScope, IAPT and the National Treatment Agency.

Making Every Adult Matter. DrugScope is a member of the Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) coalition in partnership with Clinks, Homeless Link and Mind, which was formed to influence policy and practice to support people with multiple needs. The MEAM vision is set out in Turning the Tide (2011)

DrugScope is a member of the Bradley Report Group, which is an independent forum committed to championing the agenda set out in Lord Bradley’s report on diversion from the criminal justice system which had a strong focus on dual diagnosis. DrugScope’s response to the Bradley review is here (PDF)

DrugScope Resources

Reports and briefings

Mental Health and Substance Misuse - Full report (PDF). Summary (PDF)
This briefing, produced on behalf of the Recovery Partnership, provides an overview of the intersection between substance misuse and mental ill health. In a more ideal world, it would have been possible to take a holistic view of a highly integrated system of commissioning, service design and service delivery. However, and despite the publication in 2002 of the first guidelines specifically aimed at addressing multiple needs and dual diagnosis, the progress made in integration at every level has been patchy.

Fulfilling lives: A guide to the new policy environment for multiple needs (PDF)
This briefing has been prepared by DrugScope on behalf of the Making Every Adult Matter Coalition. It provides an overview of policy themes and initiatives relevant to the multiple needs agenda, including substance misuse, criminal justice, homelessness, mental health and broader issues of public service refor

Dual diagnosis – A challenge for the reformed NHS and Public Health England (2012) (PDF). DrugScope produced this briefing with colleagues at the Centre for Mental Health and the UK Drug Policy Commission to highlight the potential impact of current reforms for people with ‘dual diagnosis’. We brought together Government officials and key stakeholders to discuss the issues at a roundtable event in 2012, and produced this briefing to map out the issues.

‘Land of the free – an anti-consensus consensus statement’ (2011) (PDF). Marcus Roberts, Director of Policy and Membership at DrugScope, compares approaches to ‘recovery’ in the substance misuse and mental health fields.

Consultation responses

DrugScope response to a Royal College of Psychiatrist’s inquiry on self-harm and suicide (2009) (PDF)

DrugScope response to the Bradley review on diversion of offenders with mental health problems and learning difficulties from prison (2009) (PDF)

DrugScope response to the consultation on the New Horizon’s mental health strategy (2009) (PDF)