1980–6: Prelude to Policy Development



The period from 1980 to 1986 marked the beginning of external interest in drug issues within the penal setting. In 1980, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) published its report, Drug Dependants within the Prison System in England and Wales. This was the first document which dealt with drug issues in the prison system. During the early 1980s, there was no public document which outlined the Prison Department’s policies for dealing with drugs and drug users in prisons. This is in marked contrast to later phases of policy development where there was an explicit prison drugs strategy document which specified clear aims and objectives for tackling the drug ‘problem’. However, this does not mean that there was not a ‘policy’ on drugs during the early 1980s. As discussed in Chapter 1, the absence of policy can be defined as a ‘policy’. Moreover, drug users in the prison system were treated in a particular way and this practice can be defined as ‘policy’. Policy was therefore implicit rather than explicit, unstated rather than stated, informal rather than formal, and private rather than public. During this period, there was increasing pressure from various sources for a more explicit and defined prison drugs policy. This phase could be viewed as a ‘transitional’ period or a ‘prelude’ to more formal policy development.


Drug User National Health Service Policy Development Drug Policy Drug Problem 
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Copyright information

© Karen Duke 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Middlesex UniversityEngland

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