Monday, 15 December 2014

Owen Bowden-Jones: If I had my way the government would...

This is a guest blog from Owen Bowden-Jones. 

Owen is the founder of the Club Drug Clinic, the current Chair of the Faculty of Addictions at the Royal College of Psychiatrists (2010-2014), a Consultant in Addiction Psychiatry, overseeing alcohol and drug services in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea and an Honorary Senior Lecturer at Imperial College in the Division of Brain Science.  Owen is also a Trustee of DrugScope.

Invest where the evidence is most robust.

Develop an inspectorate for scrutiny and oversight of commissioning.

Move commissioning of drug and alcohol specialist services from local authorities to Clinical Commissioning Groups.

For both drug and alcohol problems, increase the focus on young people at early stages of harmful use. Early intervention is well established for most illness management and should become a priority for harmful/dependent drug and alcohol use.

Invest in technology to support recovery. Relapse prevention, motivational enhancement and peer support can all be enhanced with online/mobile telephone interventions.

Review the workforce to ensure that necessary skills are retained within the sector. We are facing a brain drain, particularly for addiction psychiatry, which is bad news for the whole sector.


  1. Please, drop this "drug and alcohol" distinction, it's totally false. Also sorry to see no mention of consumer protection, proper control of the supply side for drugs and really anythnig that challenges the failed prohibitionist mindset.

  2. Perhaps Dr Bowden Jones was speaking primarily as a clinician, although you could argue that his opening statement of 'invest where the evidence is most robust' suggests that at present we have no strong evidence to support the 'non-prohibitionist' approach. Portugal is too early to use as comparison.
    Sadly the government does not seem to like empirical evidence, preferring to listen to Russell Brand instead and removing people such as Professor David Nutt from the ACMD who speak ‘science’ at them.