Yet Another Consultation on Drugs

Backdated from previous BA website

Now the Mayor is proposing to tackle cocaine with yet another consultation and further TALK. If you feel like completing this consultation please do so and send back to him. The BA has sent an official response. Copy and paste the attached document into word and complete before emailing back to the mayors office.

Developing The London Crack Cocaine Strategy:
Consultation with Stakeholders

April 2004
Introduction

The Greater London Alcohol and Drug Alliance (GLADA) is a strategic network of organisations and agencies concerned with the problems caused by drugs and alcohol in the capital.

The Mayor established GLADA in 2001 as part of his commitment to developing regional responses to reducing the harm caused by alcohol and drugs.

GLADA member organisations come together to

·    Co-ordinate policy and commissioning
·    Tackle Londonwide issues
·    To be a voice for London
·    To ensure that London derives maximum benefit from national and international initiatives
·    To collectively deliver a work programme of agreed London priorities

Background

Crack cocaine has been increasingly evident in the Britain over the last decade.

In acknowledgement of the fact that London has unique problems associated with crack cocaine GLADA has prioritised the development and publication of a London Crack Cocaine Strategy for 2004.

The GLADA report ‘London: The Highs and The Lows’ published in 2003 highlights that London is the centre of the UK crack and cocaine problem, with the Metropolitan Police responsible for nearly 60% of all crack cocaine seizures in 2002.

The Home Office Report Tackling Crack a National Plan published in 2002 identified that ‘crack cocaine is a particular problem for London, due to its unique geography and size, its demographic mix and its central place in importation‘.

Under current arrangements Drug Action Teams, (DATs) and Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships (CDRPs) and merged partnerships are the local strategic bodies responsible for developing co-ordinated responses to drug and associated crime problems in their communities. These partnerships bring together representatives of all the local agencies involved in tackling the misuse of drugs, including the primary care trusts, local authority, police, probation, social services, education and youth services, and the voluntary sector.

There are various services offering support around crack cocaine across London including more than 100 drug agencies. Various community groups and self help groups offer support to individuals, families and communities affected by crack cocaine.

Additionally, CIDA, The Concerted Interagency Drugs Action Group, lead by Customs and Excise is responsible for overseeing the enforcement agencies in their delivery of national drugs targets concerned with disrupting drugs markets and reducing the availability of drugs.

The Evidence Base for the London Crack Cocaine Strategy

The report being launched on 29th April, ‘An Evidence base for the London Crack Cocaine Strategy’ has been prepared for GLADA to support consultation. It represents the completion of the first phase in developing the London Crack Cocaine Strategy. The report represents the first overview of crack cocaine in the capital and attempts to quantify the nature and scale of the problem. The evidence presented in the report suggests a number of priority areas for action.

We are now seeking the views about aspects of the impact of crack cocaine in London that the existing data may not fully capture. In addition we want to hear different views about effective interventions to reduce harm.

The Crack Cocaine Strategy is being developed in an attempt to answer the following questions

·    What impact is crack cocaine having on London’s diverse communities?
·    What are the gaps in London’s response to the problems caused by crack cocaine?
·    What are the priorities for action at a national, regional or local level?
·    Are available resources being deployed efficiently, effectively and appropriately?
·    What are meaningful and realistic measures of success for the London Crack Cocaine Strategy?

Another purpose of the strategy will be to improve knowledge and understanding of crack cocaine use and supply in London and to inform policy, planning and co-ordination of effort. The strategy will for the first time present a comprehensive and strategic overview of crack cocaine and its impact in London and will address myths and stereotypes. The strategy will enable GLADA’s and other regional and local agencies to act on evidence rather than anecdote or vested interests.

Consultation

This report is being distributed to key stakeholders and interested parties across London as part of a consultation process which seeks to gain the views of Londoners as we work towards a regional framework for tackling crack cocaine issues in London.

We are asking for your responses to a range of specific areas for potential action. We would also like to hear your views on how crack cocaine is affecting your community/sector and what action can best be taken to address this.

The section headings and questions provided in this consultation document can be used as a guide. Please use the boxes provided to include any responses that you feel are relevant to the subject area.

We are seeking the views of

·    Policy Makers
·    Statutory bodies
·    Voluntary Agencies
·    Practitioners
·    Drug Users
·    Communities

The final Crack Cocaine Strategy will be published later in 2004 It will set out an agenda for action and provide a framework for practitioners, policy makers, voluntary organisations and community groups across London.



Please send your comments views on these proposals by 11th June 2004 by emailing Laura.Juett@London.gov.uk or by post to

Laura Juett
Senior Policy Officer – Alcohol and drugs
City Hall
The Queens Walk
London
SE1 2AA.

1. Communities

Drug use and markets affect different communities in different ways. The fabric of communities can be weakened; their sense of ownership and capacity to build and develop can be seriously challenged.  Despite this many communities are demonstrating their resilience and strength.

a. How can communities be better supported to address crack cocaine?

2. Diversity

London is a modern, diverse, multi-cultural city with a population of over 7 million people.
64% of Londoners are under 30 years of age. 37% of Londoners are from ethnic minority groups. London is home to an increasing number of asylum seekers and refugees and to the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Europe.

London is also the drugs capital of the UK. Illicit drug use is more widespread in London than in any other region of the country and the capital frequently serves as a drugs gateway to other parts of the country.  London also faces more serious crack cocaine problems than most of the country and these problems are experienced more acutely in some communities.

a. Are you aware of the impact of crack cocaine on specific communities?


3. Support Services – Treatment, Health and Social Care

GLADA acknowledges that people who experience difficulties with crack cocaine use often have a complex set of problems including those relating directly to their drug use, problems associated with accommodation, finance, employment and childcare. The National Treatment Agency (NTA) recommends that support services for crack cocaine users:

·    Deliver psychosocial interventions through counselling, group therapy, and structured day or residential care
·    Provide intensive programmes for users with multiple needs
·    Market themselves in a different way and pro-actively engage clients
·    Offer treatment quickly and avoid pharmaceutical interventions
·    Thorough case management and commissioning, establishing care pathways including through the criminal justice system and including aftercare

The NTA also stresses the role of primary care and mental health services in supporting users of crack cocaine. The NTA also recommends Aftercare should be integral to treatment provision and compatible with the initial treatment.

a. Do existing treatment services offer the right sort of help for users of crack cocaine. If
not how could services be improved?


. Do other support services such as housing, mental health services and children and
      families services have a role in helping people with crack cocaine problems?


4. Criminal Justice System

People involved in using and selling crack cocaine are increasingly identified through the criminal justice system, through the Police, Probation and Prisons.  These services are therefore well placed to potentially offer a range of support/diversionary interventions.

The MPS has in place Arrest Referral Schemes and the London Probation Service has a substantial programme of Drug Treatment and Testing Orders. The Criminal Justice Intervention Programme in 17 priority boroughs requires that those charged with some offences are screened for drugs and offered access into treatment services. Across London there is an emphasis on supporting access to treatment for problematic drug users known to the criminal justice system

a.    What could the Criminal Justice System do to ensure that crack users are better supported?

5. Enforcement

The Metropolitan Police drugs strategy has two equally important strands: reducing the supply of drugs and reducing demand of drugs in London. The first element involves the enforcement of legislation aimed at tackling criminal activity associated with drug dealing and possession.  The second element of the strategy includes education, harm reduction, problem solving and diversion as areas where the police can make a significant contribution to making London a safer place

a. Is the Police’s approach the right one?


6. Regional Initiatives

GLADA is committed to achieving consistency and coherence in policy and action to address crack cocaine issues in the capital.  Some problems are more effectively tackled on a regional rather than local, borough, basis. Regional responses can promote coherence and consistency and can be more cost effective

a. What aspects of tackling crack cocaine in London are most effectively addressed at a regional level, and what are the benefits of regional-level responses? Are there key areas in which co-ordination within and between the relevant statutory agencies can be improved when addressing crack cocaine issues in the capital?

3.    Other Comments

Please use this section to detail other issues relating to crack cocaine that you do not think have been covered in this consultation document. Please include your experience and views on how crack cocaine is affecting individuals, families and  communities.


Through this consultation process GLADA hopes to hear the views of key stakeholder, interested and affected parties from across the community. These views will then be analysed and used on the development of the Crack Cocaine Strategy for London

It would be helpful for us to know whose views we have received. Are you responding as

    An individual
    Organisation. Please specify
    Community Representative. Please specify
    Other

If you would like to receive further communication relating to the development of the London Crack Cocaine Strategy please give us your details.

Name………………………
Address…………………….
……………………………..
…………………………….
Email Address………………

Thank you for taking the time to complete to respond to this consultation process.

This document can also be downloaded at http://www.london.gov.uk

Please send your comments views on these proposals by 11th June 2004 by emailing Laura.Juett@London.gov.uk or by post to

Laura Juett
Senior Policy Officer – Alcohol and drugs
City Hall
The Queens Walk
London
SE1 2AA.

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