On the first day of debate at its annual Congress, Royal College of Nursing (RCN) members will today (Sunday, 19 June) discuss whether the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 is working. Proposed by RCN Lothian branch, the discussion will ask RCN members whether the 1971 Act needs revision; whether social responses to substance misuse need to be informed by evidence regarding care and treatment; and whether substance misuse should remain a matter predominantly for criminal justice.
Commenting ahead of the debate, Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Associate Director Norman Provan said: “There’s no doubt that attitudes have moved on over the last 45 years and the level of drug use has also changed over the longer-term. Worryingly, ‘legal highs’ have become a particular issue over recent years and this challenges both health and criminal justice services. Nurses and health care support workers are at the frontline of caring for people who misuse drugs, so this discussion will make a valuable contribution to the wider debate about drug and substance misuse within our society.
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