The new drug strategy, published yesterday, is the high level vision that my colleague, Rebecca Daddow, described in a recent RSA Comment article. Steering away from the nuts and bolts of implementing the vision, it leaves the room for ‘leaders… in local areas’ to shape the service landscape.
It is great to see the government draw on the recent RSA work (Whole Person Recovery & Recovery Capital) in the final sections of the strategy: ‘Building recovery in communities’. Alongside the direct reference to the commissioned paper ‘The Potential of Recovery Capital’, the strategy’s acknowledgment of the need to develop a locally contextualised whole system approach to recovery that is ‘person-centred’ echoes the proposals of our new Whole Person Recovery’s report.
But unlike the strategy, our work offers practical examples of how to implement this at the local level. And crucially, it demonstrates how to engage the beneficiaries of the system – the problem drug and alcohol users, their families and friends and their communities.
It’s unlikely that we will ever live in the type of drug-free society that the strategy calls for. But we can create the communities in which those who decide to dabble with substances – whether drugs or alcohol – are protected against developing the problems that can develop as a result of misuse.
Al Mathers, former RSA Director of Research and Learning, explores the importance of introducing reciprocity into the work of social change organisations like the RSA.
Tamsin Hanke Sash Scott
Super-nature was one of 10 commissions to feature in the 2022 global exploration research project, Collective Futures. Learn about the work and its outputs in this field note.