The UK government is to introduce a new approach to addiction that focuses on compassionate rather than punitive measures.
The new strategy is slated to last eight years and aims to tackle the country’s troubled relationship with toxic substances, most notably alcohol.
According to Alcohol Concern, a UK national charity, only a fifth of dependent drinkers actually receive treatment.
Further, alcohol misuse is the leading risk factor with regard to death in the UK for 15-49 year olds.
In order to tackle the crisis the UK government has outlined a 50-point plan for “Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovering” that aims to offer health-based programmes.
The merits and downsides of a compassionate approach to addiction were debated by entertainer Russell Brand and columnist Peter Hitchens on the BBC’s Newsnight in 2012 (watch the fiery exchange below).
Whilst Brand argued a compassionate approach would lead to less crime, social unrest and, ultimately, death, Hitchens maintained a blanket ban on drugs would stop people becoming addicts in the first instance.