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The Independent Drugs Commission for Brighton and Hove was a waste of time and money

The Independent Drugs Commission for Brighton and Hove published its final report last week. Here is my response, as contained in a letter in today’s Brighton Argus, writes Andy Winter on his BHT blog.

I am grateful to Peter James, who chaired the Independent Drugs Commission for Brighton and Hove, for his Saturday Soapbox (17th May) in which he said that the commission found much to applaud, including “Brighton Housing Trust’s hugely effective residential abstinence programme”.

Unfortunately the final report of the commission didn’t recognise this at all. Nowhere in the report, not once, is there any reference to ‘abstinence’, a staggering omission given it is current government policy to champion abstinence. Nowhere, not once, is there any reference to residential rehabilitation, the form of treatment that evidence shows as being the most effective.

Apart from the recommendation not to proceed with consumption rooms, the report is as disappointing as the previous two reports by the commission.

The work of the commission has taken up very many hours of Council officer time and that of people working for the NHS and other organisations. I wonder if anyone has calculated the cost of this. Given the report has come up with nothing that wasn’t known at the outset, the whole process has been a waste of public money and a distraction from a proper debate.