20 December 2021 | by Division of Clinical Psychology
What does the new government 10-year drug strategy mean for psychologists working within addiction services? The chair of the DCP’s Faculty for Addictions Andre Geel responds…
The Faculty of Addiction welcomes the publication of the strategy – ‘From Harm to Hope’. The funding increase and the commitment to implement the recommendations from the Dame Carol Black’s second review are hugely significant for the sector which has suffered heavy cuts over the past 10 years.
We congratulate the government on recognising the harms associated with drug dependence, its impact on impoverished communities and seeing addiction as an issue of ‘levelling-up’.
We are particularly pleased to see recognition for the role that psychology plays in helping people overcome their problem substance use and achieve their potential in life; helping them to gain insight into addictive behaviour, learn skills for managing it and addressing co-occurring mental health issues that can maintain the substance use. However for those working within addiction services, we know that resources have been decimated during the years of austerity; the loss of NHS run services to the third sector, rapid re-tendering cycles and funding cuts have all led to a reduction in funding posts and with them the capacity to provide training placements.
It will be a huge challenge to rebuild addiction services and one that will realistically take the 10 years of this drug strategy. However, with sustained funding and commissioners held to account to commission on quality rather than price, there are reasons to be optimistic.
The Faculty looks forward to discussions with Health Education England about increasing training placements and with colleagues in the other professions about raising professional standards in the workforce through the proposed Centre for Addiction. This strategy has the potential to revive the sector to better meet the complex needs of a marginalised and stigmatised client group and provide proper, appropriate and effective treatment for all those challenged by addiction problems.