£50m to tackle substance misuse in Wales in 2015-16
More than £50m will be invested in programmes to tackle drug and alcohol misuse by the Welsh Government over the next year, Deputy Health Minister Vaughan Gething announced recently (Friday 13 March 2015).
The Deputy Minister made the announcement during a visit to the Footsteps to Recovery Service, a unique substance misuse service in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, which is the first of its kind in Wales to offer both care and aftercare.
Alcohol and class A drug use is estimated to cost Wales as much as £2bn a year in terms of its economic and social impact.
Substance misuse in Wales leads to:
- 467 alcohol-related deaths every year (2013 figure)
- 135 drug misuse deaths in 2013
- in 2012, an estimated 34,100 individuals were admitted to hospital with an alcohol-attributable condition
- Police forces in Wales recorded 11,766 drug offences in 2013-14.
More than £22m will address the priorities outlined in the Welsh Government’s 10-year strategy, Working Together to Reduce Harm, which is aimed at tackling the harms associated with the misuse of alcohol, drugs and other substances. It is supported by the Substance Misuse Delivery Plan for 2013-15.
The Welsh Government investment includes ring-fenced funding for services to support children and young people, as well as residential rehabilitation and inpatient detoxification and counselling services.
More than £5m will be invested in capital projects to improve capacity, access to and the quality of treatment facilities across Wales through the creation of multi-agency bases, residential treatment and detoxification centres, increasing GP shared care participation, youth facilities, mobile outreach and day centres.
£2.2m will be invested in the All Wales Schools Liaison Core Programme, which educates children and young people about some of the dangers of substance misuse, anti-social behaviour and problems associated with personal safety. The programme was set up in 2004, recognising the role schools and education can play in tackling these problems.
£1m will be invested in a number of specific drug and alcohol initiatives, which support the delivery of the Substance Misuse Delivery Plan, including projects supported by Public Health Wales, such as the bilingual helpline Dan 24/7 and the Welsh national database for substance misuse contracts. It will also support existing and new policy developments, including the ground-breaking WEDINOS programme, the national naloxone programme and projects which work with hard-to-reach groups.
£500,000 will be invested in Operation Tarian, a regional police-led task force covering South Wales, Gwent and Dyfed Powys, and aimed at tackling class A drug-related organised crime and drug trafficking.
A further £17.134m has been ring-fenced in health boards’ budgets for substance misuse services, bringing the total Welsh Government investment in 2015-16 to almost £50m.
Vaughan Gething said:
“The misuse of drugs, alcohol or other substances is still one of the most devastating ways in which people can harm themselves, their families and the communities in which they live. We are determined to tackle it.
“The £50m we will invest in programmes to tackle drug and alcohol abuse over the next year demonstrates our clear commitment to reducing the harm caused by substance misuse.”
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