NHS SMPA Responds to the Health and Social Care Committee's inquiry on Drug Policy


The reported rise in drug related deaths in England has been of particular concern to the NHS Substance Misuse Provider Alliance. The Alliance has therefore welcomed the opportunity to respond to the Health and Social Care Committee’s Inquiry into Drugs Policy.

In our written evidence, we discuss:

  • Health and Harms: What is the extent of health harms resulting from drug use?

  • Prevention and Early Intervention: What are the reasons for both the initial and the continued, sustained use of drugs? This refers to the wide spectrum of use, from high risk use to the normalisation of recreational use.

  • Treatment and Harm Reduction: How effective and evidence-based is treatment provision? This refers to both healthcare services and wider agencies, and the extent to which joined up care pathways operate

  • Best Practice: What would a high quality, evidence-based response to drugs look like?

We endorse a ‘whole system’ approach to prevention, early intervention and drug treatment, with drug agencies working creatively and cooperatively with physical, mental health, social care and criminal justice services to address health inequalities and premature deaths, and secure better health, well-being and inclusion for people using drugs. The evidence submitted offers a number of examples of effective, integrated care from our services and internationally.  

Whilst maintaining the ambition to help people become free from drug dependence, NHS SMPA continue to value the role of high quality, personally tailored opioid substitution therapy (OST) in mitigating harm for long term heroin users.

The Health and Social Care Committee is currently reviewing submissions. Once the review is complete, SMPA will publish the evidence we submitted in full.