Conservatives to launch new plan to tackle addiction

A Conservative majority Government will launch a new initiative to drive down drug related deaths and tackle addiction head on, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced today.

Under the plans:

  • A new UK-wide cross-government addiction strategy will be published in 2020, establishing clear ambitions for reducing drug deaths and including problem gambling for the first time
  • Problem gambling, drink and drugs addiction will be brought under the remit of a new, dedicated monitoring unit at the heart of Government
  • New measures will be taken to tackle over-prescribing of opioids, including considering measures from the Public Health England (PHE) review such as a new 24/7 support line for addiction advice on prescription medicines
  • An independent review will be commissioned into the 2005 Gambling Act to update it for the modern, digital age – making recommendations on:
    • prize and stake limits;
    • the misuse of credit card payments;
    • putting the voluntary levy on a statutory footing and;
    • new ways of raising revenue for problem gambling support
  • The number of NHS gambling clinics will be increased from 2 to 14 in order to provide support for problem gamblers and ensure they get the help they need.
  • The progress made by local community-based treatment services and how they are funded and commissioned will be reviewed

Substance misuse and addiction is a key driver of crime, can fuel mental health crises, prompt homelessness, and lead to an early death. In particular the recent rise in drug-related deaths must be challenged head on with a preventative approach to stop the problems of addiction taking hold and ruining lives. 

Health Secretary, Matt Hancock said:

“Addiction is a destructive and tragic affliction that can cause physical and emotional harm and cost lives. I've seen for myself just how devastating it can be, and there are new challenges we face every day.

“Drug-related deaths have risen and new harmful substances are fuelling mental health crises - and in the digital age the prevalence of online gambling risks more people experiencing gambling-related harm.

“We have the best health service in the world and we now need to marshal its resources to protect those affected by addiction and ensure that they receive the treatment and support they need.”