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March 18, 2002

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From War to Work: Drug Treatment, Social Inclusion and Enterprise

Rowena Young

It claims that millions of pounds are being wasted every year on tackling Britain’s drugs problem. The report highlights how the debate has become polarised between those advocating increased policing and incarceration, and those who favour the treatment model and approach drug addiction as a disease. It presents research to demonstrate that neither group has had much impact on the soaring number of problem drug users and shows that even education has had a very limited effect.

From War to Work takes lessons from drug rehabilitation projects in South East Asia where training, work and social enterprise are combined with treatment to help addicts regain control of their lives, find networks of support and overcome their dependency. It sets out comprehensive recommendations for how this model could be applied in Britain.

The report argues that the vast majority of people are able to use drugs without harmful effects. It recommends that the government focuses on problematic drug use and drug related crime, both nationally and internationally, and relaxes its stance towards recreational use among those for whom drugs are unlikely to become a problem.

Rowena Young is Development Director of Kaleidoscope, the UK’s leading one-stop drug treatment agency. With a thirty year track record of success, it has long been recognised by national and international policy makers as an innovative and effective model of good practice. With the launch of a web production company providing training and jobs for drug users, it is currently one of only six lesson-learning projects working with the UK Anti-Drug Co-Ordination Unit and the Employment Service to forge more effective pathways to work.

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