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Alcohol & Other Drugs, News & Media

Cranstoun responds to increase in national drug-related deaths

Posted on: 3 August, 2021

The latest drug death figures are heart breaking. Each number represents someone’s parent, child, sibling, loved one or friend and every drug related death is avoidable.

Cranstoun recognises that despite the hard work of many, the current national approach to drugs policy is failing. At Cranstoun, we are committed to looking outward across the world to bring home evidence based solutions that work elsewhere or to develop and deliver home-grown world-class services to empower people to rebuild their lives. Substance misuse is not just about addiction, it is a symptom of trauma, poverty and low aspirations. As a social justice charity, we work to develop and deliver innovative and pragmatic solutions from early intervention and prevention programmes to delivering new services to reach the most vulnerable. We believe that the Cranstoun approach has the ability to reduce harm and deaths, cost and crime by tackling the root causes of offending and reaching out a hand of friendship to engage people in support.

Our home grown world class services include our pre-arrest drug diversion scheme DIVERT™. DIVERT™ is offered across numerous police force areas including Thames Valley, West Midlands and West Mercia. It is available to anyone in possession of any drug and offers early intervention outside of the normal criminal justice system. Cranstoun workers deliver the course which focuses on education, awareness and understanding of drug use. In the West Midlands, the Police and Crime Commissioner has commissioned the Cranstoun Arrest Referral Service (CARS), this service engages with individuals as they enter the criminal justice system at police custody. In 2020, we assessed over 2400 people and supported over 1000 individuals into local drug treatment support. We work with our Probation colleagues to assess people for court assessments to support magistrates to use alternatives to short term sentences that directly address their addiction, the root cause of their offending behaviour. Cranstoun’s integrated substance misuse services offer psychosocial and clinical interventions for not only those most in need but for anyone requiring advice and information relating to their drug use.

The Dame Carol Black review is a step in the right direction of treatment for drug addiction. However, we must go further. Drugs should be treated as a public health emergency, and individuals should not be criminalised for their drug addiction but provided with the right support to help them rebuild their lives. By taking this harm reduction approach, the result is lives saved and supported to be rebuilt and a reduction in cost, crime and harm to wider society.

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