Addiction to drugs and alcohol remains a shocking feature of life in many disadvantaged neighbourhoods. It shreds the fabric our society. It wrecks families, ruins childhood, causes mental illness, encourages welfare dependency, and fuels a revolving door of crime and incarceration.
Our report, Ambitious for Recovery: Tackling drug and alcohol addiction in the UK, found that ‘legal highs’, which mimic drugs such as cocaine, LSD and heroin, caused serious health problems and led to almost 100 deaths in 2012 alone. We campaigned strongly to see ‘legal highs’ banned, and in May 2016 the Government implemented a wholesale ban on the trade of these dangerous and addictive substances.
The Government’s approach to addiction reflects the CSJ’s desire to tackle the root causes of this problem, such as family breakdown, as well as the need to take preventative action at school. In recent years, government policy has also been built on the logic of helping addicts to achieve full recovery, a position advocated by the CSJ. However there is still a lot of work to be done. It is crucial that the government finds effective ways of supporting full recovery for addicts, and of reducing the risk of addiction in the first place.