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UK drug use is increasing, and deaths due to drug misuse reached an all-time high in 2020.1
In March 2022, the UK government published its 10-year strategy to reduce drug harms. Some elements (the legal framework for drug misuse and law enforcement action) will apply to the entire UK, while health, education, housing and social care will apply only to England due to devolution of powers.2
The strategy was explicitly informed by the two-phase review of drugs by Dame Carol Black, which identified that current public provision for prevention, treatment and recovery is ‘not fit for purpose, and urgently needs repair’.3 4 The reports called for recognition of addiction as a chronic health condition and services to be appropriately commissioned to be able to manage patients presenting with both drug misuse and mental ill health or trauma (physical, sexual or psychological).
The bulk of the strategy focuses on addiction services and law enforcement, aiming to improve the quality of addiction treatment and support, and to reduce …
Handling editor Simon Carley
Contributors CH conceived and authored the article.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests CH is an emergency medicine representative on the Department of Health and Social Care Drug Harms Assessment and Response Team and a member of the RCEM Toxicology Special Interest Group. Both roles are unpaid, and neither group had a role in the authoring of this article.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.