"Developments, threats and challenges in tackling problematic drug use”
Based upon thirty years of working in the drugs field as a practitioner, researcher and academic, this presentation will seek to identify key developments that should shape and inform best policy and practice, to reduce the harms associated with chronic problematic drug use and promote recovery. Progress has too often been threatened by polarised reductionist perspectives such as legally approved substances versus illegal drugs; harm reduction versus abstinence; or drugs a health issue versus a crime problem. The reality is much more nuanced and complex. These are challenging times of considerable change, in terms of how we see, understand and accommodate drugs within society, and indeed how we understand and help people who have lost control of their lives. This paper hopes to offer some practice wisdom to negotiate the way forward.