At a drugs recovery event today, hosted at Durham Prison, Ron Hogg, Police and Crime Commissioner for Durham, listened to first hand accounts from prisoners and family members of prisoners, who successfully quit drugs and alcohol after receiving support from the Drugs and Alcohol Recovery Team (DART).
The DART team in HMP Durham has developed a number of initiatives to support prisoners undergoing treatment. It offers support and treatment for prisoners who have recognised problematic substance misuse. The event today gave the opportunity for speakers from the DART team at HMP Durham, Lifeline and Turning Point who offer drugs and alcohol services in the community, to talk about different recovery models. It also gave the opportunity for prisoners and ex-prisoners to talk about their experiences and their recovery journey whilst undergoing treatment in and out of prison.
Ron Hogg said: “Today signified the success of drugs recovery programmes. I am very impressed by the DART team’s innovative thinking and energy in the field of drug treatment, which has greatly advanced recovery inside prison and enhanced links between prison and the community on discharge. This is just one example which clearly works.”
“It has further reinforced my view on decriminalisation and the need to move towards a recovery-based approach. We need a frank and open debate on our drugs policy. The focus should be on harm reduction, and thus ought to include discussions on legal drugs such as alcohol as well as illegal drugs.”
Chief Constable of Durham Constabulary, Mike Barton added: “I fully support Ron Hogg in his ground breaking approaches to helping the families of addicted people”.
The event today also included a performance by ESCTT Theatre Company based at Sunderland College. It is a student run ensemble that promotes the education of social change through theatre, in collaboration with prisons, schools and colleges. The performance included a number of techniques and approaches to engage the audience and communicate the effects of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) on the user, their friends and family.
“ESCTT Theatre Company is about giving back to the community and about enhancing social change. We feel honoured to have performed at the DART recovery event at HMP Durham and hope that our message was communicated well” said Courtney Price, Performance Manager at ESCTT.
Ron Hogg said: “The production of new psychoactive substances and skunk, which is much more virulent than hash, and is now 80% of the cannabis market, is a consequence of our present approach. Evidence from other countries such as Portugal, and the state of Colorado, indicates that introducing an alternative to prohibition does not boost drug use, and could save millions of pounds if users were treated for addiction rather than sent to prison.”
“What I have heard and seen today reiterates my views even further. Personal use must be decriminalised with a focus on recovery and easier access to treatment.”
Follow PCC Ron Hogg on Twitter: @RonaldHogg1, or for organisation updates: @DurhamPCC.
Posted on Thursday 5th March 2015