Understanding Substance Use: policy and practice

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As a PhD student currently investigating the lived experiences of recovering drug users, on beginning this review my initial
reading of the book was well underway. Aimed at a target audience of social work students, practitioners and policy makers,
the book encloses a ‘list of acronyms’, a chronologically dated ‘summary of initiatives’, introduction, and six additional
chapters/themes. Chapters 2 through to 6 are similarly structured: introduction and intended learning outcomes precede a main
body separated by sub-sections. Included throughout are helpful practical exercises and an extensive selection of research
sources, including the author’s own empirical research.

Following the introduction wherein substance use, policy and practice are usefully contextualised, chapters 2 and 3 first
chart, in detail, the emergence, development and implementation of drug policy in England and the UK. Here, Arnull effectively
imparts her Doctoral research findings, derived from an ‘analysis of key policy documents and interviews with all key players
at the centre involved in forming England’s first cross-departmental drug strategy Tackling Drugs Together 1995 and those
involved in policy implementation post-Tackling Drugs To Build a Better Britain 1998 (see footnote 2). Though this element
of the book is core reading for all who are interested in the evolution of drug policy (myself included), whether a comprehensive
understanding of this era is essential for the social work student or generic practitioner today is questionable. In less detail the UK coalition government’s 2010
drug strategy is outlined, as …

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