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A turning point for UK drug policy: opportunity or stasis

Blaine Stothard (Blaine Stothard Consultancy, London, UK)

Drugs and Alcohol Today

ISSN: 1745-9265

Article publication date: 5 June 2017




The purpose of this paper is to explore the current policy stasis in UK drug policy.


This paper examines reports, statistics and policy statements by government agencies.


Delays in revising a national strategy appear to have no clear explanation. Responses to drugs issues, including drug-related deaths, appear to lack urgency or concern at a policy making level.

Research limitations/implications

Complacency and lack of regard to evidence appear to inform current policy and strategy. Ways of overcoming this stasis are not identified.

Practical implications

There is a need for factors leading to reform and change to be identified and implemented, by government and others.

Social implications

The situations and needs of drug users do not appear as a government priority. Continued reductions in public spending – austerity – are reducing treatment provision.


The paper attempts to identify factors which inhibit policy reform in the UK so that future reform becomes more realistic.



Stothard, B. (2017), "A turning point for UK drug policy: opportunity or stasis", Drugs and Alcohol Today, Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 135-140.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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