Tackling substance misuse amongst the homeless and prisoners and dealing with mental health issues associated with addiction are some of the aims of a new Welsh Government plan published for consultation today.
Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, said the Substance Misuse Delivery Plan 2019-22, also sets-out more support for families and carers of people who misuse substances.
Substance misuse is a major health issue which can cause serious harm to individuals, families and communities.
Tackling the causes and effects of substance misuse requires commitment from across government and our partners delivering frontline services to ensure we reach and support everyone who is in need. This plan sets out how we will work to achieve that.
Our focus will continue to be on reducing the harms caused by substance misuse to the individual and wider society.To do this we want to ensure that people in Wales are aware of the dangers and the impact of substance misuse and know where they can seek information, help and support if they need it.
Our commitment to tackling substance misuse is clear. This year I announced an extra £2.4m for the seven Area Planning Boards who are responsible for commissioning front line services. That’s a 10% increase in funding at a time when resources are increasingly tight.
We are also making good progress in a number of areas. For example, in 2017/18 90.9% of people starting treatment were seen within 20 working days, compared to 75% in 2011/12. But as this plan recognises more work is needed to strengthen partnerships with other organisations to meet our objectives of reducing the harm caused by substance misuse. Only by working together can we meet this challenge so I would urge everyone interested to take part in the consultation.
Some of the key aims of the plan are:
- Strengthening partnerships with homelessness services to support those with substance misuse issues who are homeless or at risk of homelessness
- Ensuring all prisons in Wales have a coordinated, transparent and consistent service for those with substance misuse problems.
- Responding to co-occurring mental health problems which are common in substance misuse
- Improving support for families and carers of people who misuse substances
- Improving services to tackle dependence on prescription only medicines and over the counter medicines.
- Ensuring appropriate alcohol misuse services are in place before the minimum unit price for alcohol is introduced in Wales.
Andrew Misell, Director for Wales, Alcohol Change UK said:
During the last 10 years, we’ve seen good progress in Wales to reduce the harm caused by alcohol and other drugs. Joint working has been central to that success, and this new delivery plan continues that theme of co-operation. By emphasising the needs of people with co-occurring mental health and substance misuse problems, and other vulnerable groups such as people who are homeless, the new plans makes clear that all agencies need to pull together to reduce harm and promote health in Wales.
Caroline Phipps, Chief Executive of Barod said:
We welcome the new plan and are very pleased that Welsh Government continue to support a harm reduction approach in Wales. People who use drugs and/or alcohol have a right to access services that respond to their needs without shame or stigma. We must work together to ensure this happens.
The consultation is open until 9 August 2019.