Facing the future: tackling drugs in the new decade
On Wednesday 3 November 2010, DrugScope hosted its annual conference, entitled Facing the future: tackling drugs in the new decade. Despite the transport challenges posed by a tube strike, over 100 delegates, many of them DrugScope members from around the UK, gathered in central London for a packed day featuring 15 plenary speakers and a series of workshops.
After a welcome from the Chair, DrugScope’s Director of Communications and Information Harry Shapiro, the first plenary session saw DrugScope’s Director of Policy and Membership Dr Marcus Roberts kick things off with a presentation focussed on building a policy agenda for new times. Annette Dale-Perera, Strategic Director of Addictions and Offender Care for Central and North-West London NHS, looked at redesigning services for the future followed by Sara McGrail, Independent Policy Consultant and David MacKintosh of the London Drug Policy Forum, who considered how to make local partnerships and national policy deliver for communities. Paul Hayes, Chief Executive of the National Treatment Agency, finished the session with a look at the direction of travel for drug services after the Spending Review.
Presentations: Marcus Roberts (PPT 310KB)
Annette Dale-Perera (PPT 510KB)
Paul Hayes (PPT 293KB)
Ministerial address Mid way through the morning, the conference was addressed by Anne Milton MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State with responsibility for Public Health. The Minister spoke warmly of the important work carried out by all delegates in the room and, referring to DrugScope’s submission to the Drug Strategy Consultation, assured them that their concerns and experiences had been relayed. She reiterated the Government’s belief that the benefits system has a role to play in supporting people to work with recovery services but assured the room that “a responsible approach” would be taken. With regards to payment by results, she admitted that it would be the first time this kind of approach has been tried in drug treatment and that it would be challenging to put into practice – but argued that this is why pilot schemes would be implemented first. The Minister then took a number of questions from the floor.
Ministerial speech (PDF 66KB)
Panel discussion The panel debate, chaired by Danny Shaw of the BBC Home Affairs Unit, saw a lively discussion between panellists Charlie Lloyd of the University of York, Karen Biggs, Chief Executive of Phoenix Futures, Christian Guy of the Centre for Social Justice and Kate Stanley of the IPPR. Subjects covered in the session included the stigmatisation of drug users and its effects on recovery, the need for the drug sector to help prepare drug users for employment, the pros and cons of the coalition government’s commitment to a recovery agenda and the potential to build stronger communities in the drive for localism.
Workshops During the afternoon, delegates participated in one of four Making Change Happen workshops, led by practitioners from a number of different organisations.
Mark Farrell and Stacey Lee from Swanswell Drug, Alcohol Service presented on Housing Support.
Laraine Start from Blenheim/CDP and Tim Sampey from Kensington and Chelsea presented on Employment, Training and Education and service user involvement: the bigger ambition:
Presentation: Laraine Start and Tim Sampey (PPT 2.9MB)
Nina Crofts and Jessica Thompson of Compass gave a presentation called Working with children’s emergency departments around drug and alcohol-related admissions :
Presentation: Nina Crofts and Jessica Thompson (PPT 0.9MB )
Tracey McFall from STRADA and Pete Burkinshaw from the NTA presented on Workforce development:
Presentation: Tracey McFall and Pete Burkinshaw (PPT 1.8MB)
During the afternoon plenary, Nick Hardwick, who has recently taken up his post as Chief Inspector of Prisons, spoke about the challenges facing the prison estate in getting to grips with the levels of drug use and dependency among prisoners. Kevin Crowley from CRi looked at whether drug treatment can really break the link between drugs and crime, followed by Viv Evans, Chief Executive of Adfam who discussed the importance of family working. Andrew Brown, Chair of the Drug Education Forum, rounded off the session with a presentation that considered whether classroom interventions can deliver prevention outcomes.
Viv Evans (PPT 4.1MB)
Andrew Brown (This link takes you to a new website)
Finally, Martin Barnes, Chief Executive of DrugScope, reflected on the day’s proceedings and underlined the importance of the sector pulling together and presenting a united front in the face of a changing policy landscape and financial constraints.
“A chance to put the work I do into context.”
“As always, an important opportunity to explore issues outside of other pressures.”
“A good mix of contributors; presentations were very topical.”
“The developing mood of consensus and realism will help us all to cope with the new fiscal restraints.”
“The day was packed with useful and interesting presentations. The fog is starting to clear!”
Laraine Start and Tim Sampey