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Healthcare professionals and partners

Criminal justice

The relationship between problem drug use and crime is complex. Even so, all the evidence indicates that problem drug users are responsible for a large percentage of acquisitive crime, such as shoplifting and burglary.

As a direct consequence of the crime they commit, these problem drug users are highly likely to end up in the criminal justice system at some point. Some will serve community sentences, others will be sent to prison. In either case, the criminal justice system now compels them to confront their drug problems.

Drug treatment for offenders in the community has improved enormously over the past decade, in terms of availability and quality. Prisons are now catching up, with the introduction of a new treatment regime – the Integrated Drug Treatment System (IDTS).

Former NTA board member, Lord Patel of Bradford OBE was asked to carry out a review of drug treatment and interventions in prisons and for people on release from prisons in England. The report can be viewed here.

A detailed breakdown for adult prison substance misuse funding can be found here.

Single Point of Contact (SPOC)

The SPOC  for prisons has changed, in the recent DOH/MOJ letter (Gateway Number 17594) it stated:

Substance misuse services are expected to provide a single point of contact [SPOC] for the communication, with informed consent, of patient information required to secure continuation of treatment and support. The SPOC provision must include a functional email box to which all members of the treatment team have daily access. Each prison has an established Functional Mailbox that should be used for this purpose.

This should now provide more secure and timely responses to and from substances misuse teams not only in the community but also between prisons. Governors are encouraged to ensure that all the appropriate staff has access to the emails box and that staff actively use this to exchange relevant information. This will serve to strengthen continuity of care arrangements. 

The full SPOC list, along with a regional version are available below.

Staff wishing to contact a prison by telephone or find out more about a particular prison can use the following website to obtain further information -

If you want to notify us of any amendments to the SPOC list please do so at

Criminal Justice

Routes to recovery via Criminal Justice: a resource pack containing a series of node-link maps for people working with clients with drug problems.

The full document can be downloaded here.

The pack is available broken down into chapters and individual maps here.

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