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Tackling Drug Abuse: Addressing the Prevalence of Legal Highs

Overview

The Home Office estimates that drug related crime costs the UK economy £13.3 billion per year. This monetary figure does not take into account the human cost with Public Health England reporting in November 2014 a sharp rise in drug related deaths.

The use of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) or ‘legal highs’ has risen sharply in recent years creating significant health risks in addition to fuelling anti-social behaviour. Drug abuse is not only an individual health issue and cannot be detached from its societal costs. It is vital that investment in effective education, prevention and treatment programmes is complemented by legislation that accounts for the evolving nature of drug abuse.

The government recognises this and has made the Psychoactive Substances Bill, announced in the Queens Speech 2015 and currently passing through the House of Commons, a clear priority of the new parliament. This legislation will codify a blanket ban on ‘legal highs’, empowering police and local authorities to tackle this increasing form of substance abuse and stopping criminals circumventing bans through continually reinventing chemical compositions.

Tackling substance abuse undoubtedly requires a multi-agency response to maximise successful outcomes and raise awareness of significant dangers and the often misleading nature of the name ‘legal highs’. Only by restricting supply and working in partnership to tackle drug abuse and related crime can successful outcomes be achieved.

Objectives
The Tackling Drug Abuse: Addressing the Prevalence of Legal Highs forum will give delegates the opportunity to hear from policymakers regarding the latest legislative updates to tackle drug abuse, including new powers set to be introduced with regards to psychoactive substances. They will gain insights from those at the forefront of tackling drug related crime and its causes, in addition to hearing from best practice case studies regarding the most effective initiatives for prevention and tackling reoffending.

Audience
This forum will be of interest to heads of crime and reduction partnerships, chief inspectors, local criminal justice boards, community safety partnerships, behaviour support managers, drug and alcohol recovery managers, public health commissioners, directors of operations, partnership co-ordinators, heads of crime and reduction partnerships, chief inspectors, behaviour support managers and will be drawn from police authorities, health sectors, local authorities, voluntary, housing associations and the private sector.

For more information, visit the Inside Government website

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