UK Drug Workers Forum


(March 2011)


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(March 2010)

New residential rehabilitation directory launched
The NTA is pleased to announce Rehab Online, a new online directory of residential rehabilitation services for drug and alcohol problems in England and Wales.


(October 2009)

One million DIP drug tests!

The milestone of the 1,000,000th drug test conducted as part of the Drug Interventions Programme has been celebrated with a presentation at the Home Office this week.

The test was administered at the Bridge Street custody suite, Sheffield, on 14 October, which has been involved in drug testing under the Programme, a crime reduction initiative, since 2004.

The result of the milestone drug test, conducted by South Yorkshire Police staff on a man arrested on suspicion of fraud, was negative but Class A drug testing of people arrested for a range of trigger offences is recognised as a valuable way to identify and grip drug-misusing offenders at an early stage of their journey through the criminal justice system.  It is now carried out in 174 custody suites in 21 police forces across England and Wales and is just one intervention put in place to help reduce crime by managing drug misuse. 

The Drug Interventions Programme is successful in helping reduce drug-related crime in England and Wales. Since it began in 2003, acquisitive crime – to which drug-related crime makes a substantial contribution - has fallen by 32 per cent. 

The drug test in police custody is a highly accurate and non-intimate test that normally involves a swab under the tongue. It is completed and the results known in minutes.  It provides a screening tool only and cannot be used as evidence against the detainee. The result of the test can lead to prompt referrals for treatment and can also be used to inform court decisions on bail and sentencing.

Initially, only people charged with a trigger offence – usually acquisitive crime, which research has shown to often be drug-related - could be tested, but now all areas can test at any point after arrest so that even people who do not go on to face charges can more easily be targeted for help with their drug misuse.

Alan Campbell MP, Secretary of State for Crime Reduction, presented a commemorative certificate to mark the millionth test milestone to Assistant Chief Constable Mark Whyman of South Yorkshire Police.  More than 240,000 tests for Class A substances are now conducted every year and around a third of tests are positive, showing that the right people are being targeted.


Pilot sites to test a new regime for problem drug users on benefit

(NTA - 7 August 2009)

Most of the 330,000 users of crack cocaine or heroin in England are unemployed.  Three quarters are on welfare benefits, and around half of them are in drug treatment.  However over 100,000 heroin and crack addicts are receiving welfare benefits without receiving any treatment at all.

Helping drug users on benefit into treatment is the first step to helping them regain control over their lives so they can overcome their addiction, be safer and healthier, and reintegrate into society.

Identification and referrals to a treatment provider for users of crack cocaine and/or heroin will be a key part of supporting people in their journey back to work.  Support in finding or returning to employment, and access to training, volunteering or other opportunities for engaging in meaningful activity, are an important part of helping the client.

To support the Government’s commitment set out in the 2008 drugs strategy (Drugs: Protecting Families and Communities) to ensure that the benefit system supports the new focus on re-integration and personalisation the Department of Work and Pensions has decided that it will be piloting a new regime for problem drug users (heroin and crack cocaine users) in five Jobcentre Plus Districts (Merseyside, Lancashire and Cumbria, West Yorkshire, Birmingham and Solihull and Central London).

The two-year scheme will start in October 2010 will seek to identify. assess and refer to a rehabilitation programme. all heroin and crack cocaine users who are in receipt of Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) and Employment Support Allowance (ESA) who are not already receiving treatment for their drug problem.

Those who refuse to undergo an assessment will be required to undertake a single or a series of drug tests carried out by Jobcentre Plus, and risk a financial sanction for failing to undertake any of the mandatory activities. While on the new regime (for a maximum of twelve months) they will be paid a treatment allowance in place of their benefits. .

Drug users in receipt of JSA and ESA who are already in treatment for their drug use will not be affected by this pilot scheme and will continue to receive treatment and benefits as long as they are in treatment.