Profile: Paul Hayes
Professor of Drug Policy
Paul Hayes is Honorary Professor London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. As CEO of the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse, he was responsible to ministers and parliament for the funding and delivery of treatment for drug addiction in England between 2001/13. He currently chairs the Northern Inclusion Consortium, a collaboration between five third sector organizations providing integrated responses to social and economic exclusion.
NoteStreams By Paul Hayes
You would be forgiven for thinking that Russell Brand, that radical left-winger and advocate of revolution, and Iain Duncan Smith, Conservative secretary of state for work and pensions, didn’t have anything in common. But they do: their hatred for heroin substitute methadone. Brand and IDS come from opposite ends of the political spectrum. But in Brand’s BBC3 documentary End the Drugs War and IDS’s recent “personal” article in the Sunday Telegraph calling for the methadone industry to be in the sights of those fighting drug addiction show, they find common cause.
Drug use is common, drug addiction is rare. About one adult in three will use an illegal drug in their lifetime and just under 3 million people will do so this year in England and Wales alone. Most will suffer no long-term harm. There are immediate risks from overdose and intoxication, and longer-term health risks associated with heavy or prolonged use; damage to lungs from smoking cannabis or the bladder from ketamine for example. However most people will either pass unscathed through a short period of experimentation or learn to accommodate their drug use into their lifestyle, adjusting patterns of use to their social and domestic circumstances, as they do with alcohol.