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UK-wide summit on tackling drug misuse confirmed

Summit on drug misuse set for February

Adrian O'Dowd

Monday, 27 January 2020

Expertise from clinicians, drug recovery experts, police officers and government ministers will be shared at a national drug misuse summit being held on 27 February in Scotland, it has been confirmed.

The government-organised gathering will include people from all these professions representing England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

They will discuss how to work together to best prevent deaths related to drug misuse, cases of which reached 4,265 across the UK in 2018, with more than a quarter of those deaths happening in Scotland.

The Glasgow event is also intended to boost collaboration between the UK government and the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland administrations on this UK-wide issue.

The legal framework relating to the misuse of drugs is reserved for the UK government, but the Scottish and Welsh governments and the Northern Ireland Executive have their own approach to preventing the harms of drug misuse in areas where responsibility is devolved, including healthcare, criminal justice, housing, and education.

Professor Dame Carol Black, the independent reviewer of drugs, will present her findings to the devolved administrations at the summit next month.

The Home Office’s minister for crime, policing and the fire service Kit Malthouse, who will chair the event, said: “People are dying from drugs every day across the UK, and this summit will bring us together to tackle the issue of drug misuse.

“We must have firm enforcement action and do all we can on prevention, recovery and treatment too. I look forward to meeting key individuals from across the UK and listening to their views on addressing this challenge.”

Scottish secretary Alister Jack said: “The high numbers of lives lost to drugs in Scotland is a tragedy, a huge cause for concern.

“I am pleased that the UK government is to bring experts together from all parts of the country, to share experience about tackling this terrible scourge.‎”

Jo Churchill, parliamentary under secretary of state for prevention, public health and primary care, will also attend the event.

Senior police officers are being invited to the summit, along with Dr Edward Day, the government’s drug recovery champion; Dr Owen Bowden-Jones, the chair of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs; and representatives from the National Crime Agency.

Representatives from Public Health England and the Department of Health & Social Care will also be invited to attend, along with their counterparts from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.


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