Recovery Partnership:
Substance Misuse
Commissioning Bulletin
March 2017


Dear Colleague

The Recovery Partnership conducts research and consultation with stakeholders including commissioners, drug and alcohol practitioners, service managers and service users to explore what's really going on in the sector, share good practice and support the delivery of a range of recovery focused services for those struggling with drug or alcohol issues.

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The Recovery Partnership

February Commissioning for Recovery Meeting
On 28 February 2017 in partnership with Collective Voice we facilitated the meeting of a group of substance misuse commissioners to share good practice, challenges and concerns. The meeting covered:

  1. ACT Peer Recovery: Mutual Aid Model, presented by its founder Mark Webster
  2. State of the Sector 2016, initial findings presented by Emilie Frijns, Adfam
  3. Policy and Drug strategy update with Paul Hayes, Collective Voice
  4. “Commissioning for Recovery” discussion chaired by Chris Lee, a commissioner in Lancashire. Key areas of discussion included: funding cuts, unrealistic expectations being placed on providers, outcome measurements, partnerships, data and evidence bases, loss of expertise and the future of the sector.

This briefing note (pdf) summarises the discussions from the day.


State of the Sector 2016
We will soon be launching the State of the Sector 2016 report. Since 2013 this annual report has provided vital snapshots of the state of the drug and alcohol sector.

This year we are building detailed first-hand accounts by conducting “deep-dives” into Newham and Lancashire – speaking to commissioners, practitioners, service managers, service users, family members, directors of public health and police and crime commissioners. This has given us real taste of the mood of the sector, the challenges but also the positives that can be taken amidst a time of funding cuts and changes in commissioning and the delivery of services. We are deep into the writing stage and will publish the report by the end of May.


Other key work delivered recently has included:



Reports and resources

Bereaved through Alcohol and Drugs (BEAD) – New website
Adfam and Cruse Bereavement Care recently launched the new BEAD website which brings together real life stories, practical and emotional advice and resources to help anyone who’s been bereaved through alcohol or drugs.  
The BEAD project will also be hosting two information sessions in Manchester on Saturday 29 April and Birmingham on Saturday 13 May for individuals bereaved in this way to find out about what support is available to them locally as well as hearing personal experiences and self-help techniques. See here for more information.

Highways and buyways: A snapshot of UK drug scenes 2016 – DrugWise
DrugWise has published the findings of its survey into the UK drug scene in 2016. Key findings include unprecedented street purity levels for heroin, crack, cocaine and ecstasy; some aims of the Psychoactive Substances Act being achieved but new forms of synthetic cannabinoids being dealt on the streets; reports of young people using heroin to self-medicate from synthetic cannabinoids; and increasing numbers coming forward to agencies with cannabis as a primary problem.

An evidence review of the outcomes that can be expected of drug misuse treatment in England – PHE
This evidence review aims to give policy makers and local areas an idea of the outcomes that can be expected of drug misuse treatment in England. It also reviews the impact of housing problems, unemployment and social deprivation on treatment engagement and outcomes, considers how drug treatment will need to be configured to meet future need and recommends an appropriate set of measures to address this.

Rebalancing Act: A resource for Directors of Public Health, Police and Crime Commissioners, the police service and other health and justice commissioners, service providers and users – Revolving Doors
This resource is intended to help a broad range of stakeholders at local, regional and national level, to understand and meet the health and social care needs of people in contact with the criminal justice system, and through this reduce offending and improve community safety. It gives an overview of the key health inequalities experienced by this population, some of the associations between health and social care needs with offending and reoffending behaviour and identifies some of the key stakeholders at a local level who can come together to address those needs.

Young people’s statistics from the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System (NDTMS) 2015-16 – PHE
This paper outlines key NDTMS statistics relating to young people covering 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016. Key findings included that the number of young people in specialist substance misuse treatment went down 7% from last year, 65% of young people in treatment were male and 87% said they had a problem with cannabis. It also covers other substances young people were having problems with, the most common routes into substance misuse services, other problems or vulnerabilities related to young people’s substance use and waiting times for accessing services.



Academy for Justice Commissioning events

National Substance Misuse Conference 2017

The National Substance Misuse Conference 2017 is taking place on the 13th September 2017, 9am-5pm at The Birmingham Conference and Events Centre in Central Birmingham.

The National Substance Misuse Conference 2017 explores issues facing clients, professionals and services. It will provide an insight into current thinking and latest developments in the field from a variety of perspectives: policy, practice and prevention. The conference draws together the UK’s leading clinicians, researchers, educators and many more to consider how we meet the challenge now and in the future.

Read here for more information and to buy tickets