This policy briefing is part of a wider programme of work undertaken by UKDPC to provide an overview of the differing needs and challenges associated with drug use among diverse minority communities within the UK.
By bringing together a variety of evidence in one place we are seeking to encourage a broader view of the evidence and its implications, as well as prompting debate about how best to respond to the varying patterns of drug use and associated problems within different communities.
The government, local partnerships, commissioners and service providers have sought to address the challenges of a range of diverse groups over the years. This review has not sought to evaluate the impact these have made but rather to describe what is known about the current situation, to stimulate much-needed discussion of the issues, highlight gaps and to identify new areas for action.
It was a common finding for all the reviews conducted as part of this project that the evidence was limited and often of poor quality using samples that are not necessarily representative of the population. Therefore the findings, although the best available, should be interpreted with caution.
Also, it is important to note that considerable diversity within Black and minority ethnic (BME) communities is often concealed by the use of generic terminology covering a wide range of geographic origins (ie ‘South Asian’ may describe populations from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, etc.). Indeed, even within groups with the same ethnic background there may be differences associated with other factors such as place of residence within the UK, generational and social differences.