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Fact sheet

UK Drug Strategy

Summary of UK Drug Strategy 2008: Protecting Families and Communities

The 2008 Drug Strategy sets out the Government’s aims for the next 10 years in drug treatment and prevention. These are grouped around four areas:

  1. Protecting and engaging with communities
  2. Preventing harm to children, young people and families affected by drug misuse
  3. Delivering new approaches to drug treatment and social re-integration
  4. Public information campaigns, promoting community engagement

The Strategy applies to all countries in the UK, but its delivery will reflect the devolution of powers to Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. As such, aspects of the Strategy will be taken forward by different agencies regionally.1

A more preventative and holistic approach is being taken, which will include providing intensive parenting support alongside drug treatment. The Strategy’s key aims in supporting families include:

  • ensuring prompt access to treatment for drug-misusing parents, with all assessments taking account of the needs of the family. This is in line with the Children’s Plan strategies to develop Family Pathfinders and expand existing Family Intervention Projects
  • delivering a package of interventions for families at risk, to improve parenting skills, help parents educate children about the risks of drugs, support families to stay together and prevent problems being transferred between generations
  • supporting “kin carers”, such as grandparents caring for the children of substance-misusing parents, by exploring extensions to the circumstances in which local authorities can make payments to carers of children classified as ‘in need’, backed up by improved information for carers and guidance for local authorities
  • supporting parents with substance misuse problems so that children do not fall into excessive or inappropriate caring roles

In addition, the Strategy seeks to increase involvement of carers, so services will be:

"supporting and involving young people and their parents and carers more in the planning and process of treatment for young people, and involving carers’ and users’ groups in the design and planning of treatment services. Where no such groups exist, we will encourage local areas to establish them".2

So, when working with carers of people with substance misuse problems, as well as local Drug and Alcohol services:

  • be aware of these provisions in the Strategy
  • remind the services of their obligations to support carers as outlined in the Strategy, as well as in the Orange Book

1 See page p.37 of the 2008 Drug Strategy: Protecting Families and Communities for more information. Available from the Home Office website
2 p.21 of 2008 Drug Strategy: Protecting Families and Communities