Drugs & alcohol
“Drugs services are telling me that I need to sort out my mental health and mental health are saying they can’t deal with me ‘till I sort out my drugs, so it’s a catch 22 situation. . . . I committed crime just to get a community sentence to get help.” – Member of Revolving Doors Agency's Service User Forum.
- 69% of arrestees test positive for at least one drug. (1)
- 63% of male prisoners, and 38% of female prisoners admit to hazardous drinking. (2)
- 54% of prisoners with alcohol problems also reported a problem with drugs, and 44% said they had emotional or mental health issues in addition to their alcohol problems. (3)
Many people in the revolving doors group experience problems with drug and/or alcohol misuse. This is often strongly linked to other problems, such as family breakdown, mental ill health and offending - both as a symptom and as a cause.
The recent government drug strategy has recognized the need for a “whole person” approach, and placed responsibility for drug treatment in both prisons and the community in the hands of the Department of Health. However, more can be done to address the multiple needs of many with drug and alcohol problems.
Revolving Doors calls for:
- An overall language and approach to substance misuse which challenges stigma, recognises multiple needs and promotes the potential for people to recover.
- The involvement of service users and former service users in the commissioning, design and delivery of services.
- Improved continuity of support for drug and alcohol problems between prison and the community.
- Improved availability of alcohol treatment.
Relevent Revolving Doors Publications
(1) The Bradley Report (Department of Health, 2009, p.38)
(2) Prison Reform Trust (2004) Alcohol and reoffending: who cares? London: PRT
(3) HM Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales (2010)Alcohol services in prisons: an unmet need, London: HMCIP