The Home Office has just closed the 2010 Drug strategy consultation paper, a consultation in relation to its general drugs policy. It is aimed at a wide audience and includes questions relating to the health sector and intends to seek the views of experts on a range of issues relating to how to tackle drug and alcohol misuse.

An important issue which has been identified by commentators is the impact that the introduction of a possible financial benefits sanction that drug/alcohol users who, were also receiving benefits, would face if they did not take steps to address their drug or alcohol dependency.

The proposals raise clear issues in relation to whether or not a financial incentive could have an impact on the decision to undergo medical treatment for drug/alcohol misuse. As readers will be aware, valid consent is central to medical law as it reflects a person's autonomy.