The 2011/12 Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW, formerly the British Crime Survey (BCS)) survey shows that over one in three adults aged 16 to 59 years in England and Wales (36%) have used illicit drugs in their lifetime (around 12 million people). Cannabis is the drug most likely to be used by 16 to 59 year olds, with approximately one in 15 adults (7%) admitting to taking the drug in 2011/12. However, cannabis use is falling over time after a rise between 1996 (9.5%) and 2002/3 (10.9%) to 6.9% in 2011/12. For the people who take them, illegal drugs can be a serious problem. They are responsible for between 1,300 and 1,600 deaths a year in the UK, and destroy thousands of relationships, families and careers.
A new national drug strategy was launched in December 2010 which signals a major change to government policy and sets out a fundamentally different approach to preventing drug use in our communities, and in supporting recovery from drug and alcohol dependence. A new treatment service (‘The Recovery Partnership’) has been commissioned across Coventry and Warwickshire to help implement the recovery agenda locally.
A Drug & Alcohol Treatment Needs Assessment has recently been produced to help assist local partners and the Drugs and Alcohol Management Group, in targeting work and in planning for the future. The needs assessment focuses on the drug use of adults in Warwickshire and the recovery needs of drug treatment clients.
What are the big issues?
Headline facts for 2012/13 include:
- In the period April 2011 to March 2012, there were 994 recorded Opiate and/or Crack Cocaine Users (OCUs) in effective treatment in Warwickshire and a total of 1,062 adults in effective treatment in the County. The 994 OCUs recorded in the latest period is down 9.9% or 109 clients from the previous year, mirroring the trend seen both regionally and nationally.
- Cannabis remains the most popular drug at the 2012 Global Gathering festival in Stratford-on-Avon District, with 127 people listing this as their drug of choice in 2012. Cocaine and MDMA/Ecstasy are also high on the list (104 individuals highlighted cocaine and 75 individuals mentioned MDMA/Ecstasy). Use of both amphetamine and ketamine has fallen from peaks in 2009. The prevalence of cocaine at the festival has increased dramatically over the last year, from 11 individuals in 2011 to 104 in 2012 (although this is worth bearing in mind in the context of increased numbers generally at this year’s festival). Many more drug variations have been discovered at the festival in 2012 with those asked admitting to using legal highs and methamphetamine.
- Mosaic is a customer insight tool which gives a comprehensive view of consumer demographic data. Warwickshire Drug and Alcohol Action Team can use the findings from the Mosaic analysis to effectively target messages in relation to alcohol and drug use and also use it to help raise awareness of The Recovery Partnership’sservices. A common feature of the households identified is the increased risk experienced by young people generally. Moreover, this risk appears evident among groups with different income levels. This would suggest that a more general message emerging from this analysis is the involvement of young people in the sort of behaviours which place them at greater risk from issues relating to drugs and alcohol.
- Consultation with treatment providers revealed that alcohol and drug treatment service users face barriers to successful recovery, with the highest concerns being the lack of affordable accommodation and the lack of suitable employment opportunities.
- Consultation with practitioners revealed a number of emerging issues relating to drug and alcohol misuse in the county. Significant areas of concern include alcohol pre-loading, increased methadone dependence, a significant rise in anti-social behaviour and domestic abuse caused by substance misuse and linking the increase in substance misuse to licensing times.
WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO?
- The Recovery Partnership to undertake appropriate treatment interventions to increase the proportion of clients successfully completing drug treatment.
- The Recovery Partnership to undertake both appropriate treatment interventions to increase the proportion of clients successfully completing drug treatment and data recording improvements to ensure that this is accurately reported to NDTMS.
- The Recovery Partnership to continue to take appropriate action to reduce the length of time clients spend in treatment by providing support to enable them to complete their recovery journey.
- Warwickshire treatment services to work towards Strang compliance.
- The Recovery Partnership to build closer links with, and provide advice on appropriate prescribing to, non Shared Care GPs who prescribe opioid substitutes, starting with the practices in rural Stratford-on-Avon that prescribed the highest numbers in 2011/12. The Shared Care scheme to be promoted to these practices wherever possible.
- The Recovery Partnership to continue to establish outreach locations in suitable venues around the county, to ensure treatment services are accessible to as many residents as possible.
- The Recovery Partnership and ESH Works to continue to encourage service users to set up and improve existing recovery networks across Warwickshire, particularly in the north of the county.
- All partners to take into consideration feedback from the provider and practitioner surveys and barriers identified to the implementation of the recovery agenda that are relevant to their service.
- Note issues and barriers raised in the practitioner survey and undertake a follow up survey next year to see how or if things have improved.
- Recovery Asset thinking to be part of Warwickshire’s approach to client work going forward.
- Warwickshire DAAT and the Recovery Partnership to undertake further activity raising awareness of the potential harm that can be caused by legal highs.
- Warwickshire DAAT and partners to develop appropriate delivery mechanisms to promote treatment services to a wider audience.
- The Recovery Forum to develop an action plan to take forward the messages from the service user consultation.
- Warwickshire DAAT to use the Mosaic analysis to target preventative messages to young people/adults in the County.
- Warwickshire DAAT to also use the previous Mosaic analysis carried out for the 2011/12 needs assessment to work with partners to effectively target messages in relation to alcohol use and help raise awareness of the new treatment service.
- Warwickshire DAAT to explore the possibility of assessing the client profile of the Recovery Partnership using Mosaic to enable messages about treatment services to be targeted more effectively.
- The Recovery Partnership and ESH Works to promote activities shown to aid recovery to all service users.
- Warwickshire DAAT to pursue the survey of employers to better understand their needs and views on the subject of substance misuse in the workplace and employing ex-service users.
- The Recovery Partnership and Jobcentre Plus to review their joint working arrangements, with the aim of improving employment outcomes for drug and alcohol service users.
- Warwickshire DAAT to undertake or commission a detailed analysis of the barriers to accessing housing provision experienced by drug and alcohol treatment service users (similar in scope to the employment analysis undertaken in 2012).
Who needs to know?
- Warwickshire County Council
- District and Borough Councils
- ESH Works (Service user and carer involvement service)
- JobCentre Plus
- NHS Warwickshire
- The Recovery Partnership
- Voluntary and community sector groups
- Warwickshire County Council
- Warwickshire Police
- Warwickshire Probation Trust
The full Warwickshire Drug & Alcohol Treatment Needs Assessment is available here:
Previous year’s document can also be accessed here:
Further information on drug treatment can be found here: