Tory MP Iain Duncan Smith’s description of methadone as “a fatalistic, short-term, and damaging approach to drug and alcohol addiction” signalled a growing mistrust of the pragmatic harm reduction measures introduced by Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s. Paul Hayes and Annette Dale-Perera look back at the politics of treatment.
What could turn out to be one of the closest run general elections in decades is virtually upon us. Speculation in the drugs field about a future government’s direction on drug treatment is rife. With the economy and the public finances naturally centre stage, the major parties have signalled intent on drug policy, without having to tie themselves into a plan made on the election campaign trail. So what can we learn from how current policy has been developed that may point us to where it could go in 2010 and beyond?