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The National Audit Office (NAO) is conducting a value-for-money study on the UK Government’s 2008 drug strategy, Drugs: protecting families and communities (‘the Strategy’). The NAO study, Tackling Problem Drug Use, focuses in particular on local delivery authorities’ capacity and capability to effectively tackle problem drug use (PDU) through delivery of local services. To inform the NAO’s value-for-money study, RAND Europe performed a literature review on problem drug use and reviewed the evidence base, both literature and data, underpinning the Strategy. One of the key findings is the narrower focus in the UK on most significant harms may be useful, but also carries risks and drawbacks discussed in detail in the report. In addition, we find the Strategy draws on robust evidence in the area of drug treatment and drug-related crime; however, other topics would benefit from further context or detail, and in places it is difficult to relate the evidence base to implications for intervention and delivery of services.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Defining problem drug use

  • Chapter Three

    Drug strategy evidence base

  • Chapter Four

    Concluding remarks

  • Appendix A

    Methodology and approach

Research conducted by

The research in this report was prepared for the UK National Audit Office and conducted by RAND Europe.

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