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Statement on the Review of Drugs: Government must wake up and adapt their strategy

Friday, February 28, 2020

NAT (National AIDS Trust) welcomes Dame Carol Black’s Review of Drugs. The report highlights that the Government’s current drug strategy is failing and with drug deaths at a record high more needs to be done to implement radical and innovative solutions to prevent further avoidable deaths.

Natasha Dhumma, Head of Policy and Campaigns at NAT (National AIDS Trust), said:

“The Government’s response to the Review of Drugs is to continue funding a strategy clearly not working. The review states that, even fully funded, the current approach is unlikely to ever control drug supply, and similarly extra funding for treatment will make little difference. We have long called for an innovative and transformational response to the drug crisis in the UK, reframing the issue as a public health matter rather than a criminal justice one.

“The review was limited from the outset by not looking at drugs law and criminalisation. We cannot tackle drug harms in isolation without looking at the root causes and wider criminal justice system.

“The Government is losing the battle on drug control and its lack of action on drug-related deaths is shameful. Instead of drawing on mounting international evidence that harm reduction interventions such as needle exchanges and drug consumption rooms (DCRs) save lives, the Government is stubbornly pursing a failing punitive agenda. These services provide safer and supervised environments that benefit both people who inject drugs and local communities, reducing deaths and the transmission of blood borne viruses such as HIV. Legal barriers currently prevent DCRs from operating and the Government must address this urgently.”


For interviews or further comment, please email Joe Lester on or 020 7814 6727 (for out of hours press enquiries call 07834 390 624).

Notes to editors

The Review of Drugs can be viewed here: 

About NAT

NAT (National AIDS Trust) is the UK’s leading charity dedicated to transforming society’s response to HIV. We provide fresh thinking, expertise and practical resources. We champion the rights of people living with HIV and campaign for change.

Shaping attitudes. Challenging injustice. Changing lives.