The Goodenough Drug Strategy [www.dailydose.net/archives/GoodenoughDSMay.pdf] is a public policy project produced by a cross section of persons working in the field of substance use in the United Kingdom. The Goodenough drug strategy was developed at a time when public and professional debate around drugs was effectively stifled by heavy handed central government management not only of the problem but also the discourse. The Goodenough Drug Strategy has been developed to specifically stimulate debate regarding the development of national drug strategy for the UK and the purpose of that drug strategy.
Goodenough is notable because of its focus on mainstreaming approaches to substance use, rather than ringfencing or dependence on specialist services. Goodenough proposes that as problems related to substance use are common in UK society, so the solutions to those problems should be offered from within mainstream community and health services. Drug users, goes the theory, are part of the community and the solution.
The Goodenough Drug Strategy was created in December 2006 and was published in May 2007. So far over 18,000 copies have been distributed across the UK. The Goodenough Drug Strategy has been supported by The London Drug Policy Forum, Lifeline and Drugscope.
Purpose and objectives
The main purpose of the Goodenough Drug Strategy is to promote the quality of life of individuals, families and communities experiencing problems related to substance use.
The objectives are:
- Supporting and protecting communities and individuals to resist and reject unacceptable behaviour relating to substance use. Police and resources for enforcement should be targeted to support the most vulnerable communities, defined by a range of measures. The most problematic types of drug and alcohol use will be targeted through integrated packages of prevention, enforcement, early intervention and effective treatment. Communities themselves must be involved in this work – as commissioners and monitors of its reach and effectiveness.
- Establishing a broader range of interventions for substance users, their carers and families within community settings. The current postcode lottery of drug treatment that exists across the country must be tackled as a priority. For the majority of individuals with substance use problems we should reduce dependence on specialist drug treatment services as they are expensive and over complex. For the minority of users who require highly specialist interventions referral should be immediate, with transfer back to primary care or other community support an optimum short term outcome. Non medical and social care interventions should be prioritised, for example helping individuals out of poverty, into housing and providing pathways into employment.
- Improving mainstream educational attainment and addressing the training, educational and aspirational deficits in our most vulnerable communities. Addressing the training, educational and aspirational deficits in our most vulnerable communities is a priority for the prevention of problematic substance misuse among adults and young people. Equipping people with information and building levels of understanding so that they are able to respond to the challenge of problematic drug and alcohol use at home and in the community.
- Providing good quality honest and credible information on drugs and alcohol to all young people. As treatment is a lottery, so is drugs education. Young people need effective education to make good choices - so do adults. Individuals and organisations providing substance use information should be rigorously inspected by OFSTED and The Adult Learning Inspectorate to ensure consistency and safety.