This briefing highlights key issues facing those commissioning drug services at the local level as they seek to increase the numbers of people with drug problems who achieve recovery through overcoming addiction, building new lives and relationships, and participating in society. It draws on the experiences of attendees at a one-day seminar held in November 2011 as part of a wider project undertaken by the UK Drug Policy Commission looking at the impact of the many policy changes currently underway which seek to achieve greater localism in a period of financial constraint. As these changes are still in progress it is not possible to evaluate their impact but instead the project aims to highlight risks, opportunities and emerging lessons to assist those who are seeking to provide and improve services while the structures are shifting around them.
One issue that came through very clearly that should be noted at the outset is the enormous variability in the situation and experience in different areas. Local areas had different starting points, both in terms of structural arrangements and the level of investment and organisation of treatment services. On top of this the financial situation has affected some areas more than others, while some are adapting to the changes faster than others. This means there are a wide variety of answers to the question of how to go about commissioning for improved recovery in the current context. The findings highlighted here are potential opportunities and promising ideas for improving services in the current context alongside possible risks and barriers that may need to be monitored and addressed.
For details of the research project and other associated reports, click here.