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Ambitious for Recovery: Tackling drug and alcohol addiction in the UK

Addiction to drugs and alcohol is destroying lives and blighting communities. Today, 300,000= people in England are addicted to opiates and/or crack and 1.6 million are dependent on alcohol. The cost of this is substantial. Every year drugs cost society around £15 billion and alcohol a further £21 billion. The human cost is even greater. Addiction ruins the lives of those it affects, as well as the lives of their families and communities, causing long-term unemployment and crime, and damaging mental health.

It does not have to be this way. There is much that can be done to prevent addiction, and to help those with an existing addiction recover. This paper sets out an ambitious plan to strengthen Britain’s fight against addiction and the harm that it causes. We look at:

„„How to prevent more people from becoming addicted;

  • „„Ways of tackling the supply of drugs in Britain;
  • „„How to reform our treatment system so that more people recover from addiction and
  • „„How interactions with public services can more effectively encourage people into treatment.