Drug Strategy Investment in Treatment And Recovery (D-SITAR) Evaluation

Close up of two people holding hands over a wooden table, photo by Yuri Arcurs/peopleimages.com

Photo by Yuri Arcurs/peopleimages.com

What is the issue?

Drug related deaths were the highest ever recorded in 2021 in the UK. The independent review of drugs by Dame Carol Black found that drugs cost an estimated £19 billion to society annually, and that long-term cuts in funding have led to a decline in skills, expertise and capacity in the treatment and recovery system.

In response to this issue, the UK Government published their 10-year Drug Strategy ‘From Harm to Hope’. This strategy includes an additional £780 million in funding over three years for the treatment and recovery system, along with funding to support treatment for people sleeping rough, address housing needs, provide job-related support, and increase inpatient detoxification capacity.

How are we helping?

RAND Europe and partners at King’s College London Centre National Addiction Centre, the University of Manchester and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust have been provided grant funding from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) to evaluate the first three years of the drug strategy’s treatment and recovery portfolio in England.

The evaluation consists of two parts: an overall process evaluation of the treatment and recovery portfolio, and five evaluations of the following priority areas:

  • The housing support grant;
  • Efforts to improve the treatment and recovery workforce;
  • Lived experience recovery organisations (LEROs);
  • Service integration; and
  • The provision of depot buprenorphine.

In the overall process evaluation, we will investigate:

  • What are the challenges, barriers, and enablers of implementation and delivery of the T&R portfolio?
  • How have contextual factors influenced delivery of the T&R portfolio?
  • What processes do or do not work, in what context, and for what reasons?
  • Are there areas or mechanisms that could be improved, and if so, how?
  • What are the pathways or mechanisms that influence T&R portfolio outcomes and impacts?

Over this 2.5 year evaluation, we will conduct surveys with local authorities, interview people who use services and members of the treatment and recovery workforce, analyse administrative datasets and develop case studies of how local areas have implemented the treatment and recovery aspects of the drug strategy.

This study will also informed by input from our expert advisory group, service user advisory group, workforce advisory group and commissioners advisory group.