New report sees progress being made in tackling substance misuse
The ‘2014 Substance Misuse Annual Report’, published yesterday, outlined the progress being made to tackle substance misuse throughout Wales.
The annual report shows that there has been clear progress made on waiting times for treatment, with the percentage of clients who started treatment within 20 working days increasing from 73% in 2009-10 to 87% in 2013-14, continuing the trend of improvement over the 5-year period.
In October 2008 the Welsh Government published its 10 year substance misuse strategy “Working Together to Reduce Harm” which sets out a clear national agenda for tackling and reducing the harms associated with substance misuse in Wales.
Some of the significant developments highlighted by the report published yesterday are:
- Inclusion of the proposal to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol of 50p per unit within the Public Health White Paper, which was subject to a 12 week consultation, ending in June 2014. The consultation evidenced broad support for introducing minimum unit pricing in Wales and the Welsh Government is considering next steps.
- Launch of Dry January 2014 by the Health Minister, aimed at encouraging a wider discussion about alcohol and its impact on daily life.
- Supporting the work of the independent Advisory Panel on Substance Misuse (APoSM) whose work this year has included publishing a review of the potential of minimum unit pricing in Wales. The Minister has agreed that the Panel’s next focus will be the challenges of substance misuse in an ageing population and misuse of prescription only medication such as Tramadol.
- Publication of new guidance in undertaking systematic reviews on fatal and non fatal drug poisonings aimed at further reducing drug related deaths.
- Publication of the substance misuse treatment framework module ‘Improving Access to Substance Misuse Treatment for Veterans’. This document provides guidance to primary care practitioners; health boards and substance misuse Area Planning Boards to improve identification of and access to substance misuse treatment services for veterans.
Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford said:
“Tackling the harms associated with substance misuse is a priority for the Welsh Government and by the continuing investment in the substance misuse agenda we will work to ensure we make progress in this important area.
“The way in which substance misuse services have been shaped and delivered in recent years provide good evidence of prudent healthcare in practice and we will continue to strengthen this, in collaboration with our delivery partners.
“Key challenges remain, such as increasing levels of alcohol related harm and the changing age profile of substance misusers but as this report shows good progress is being made to deliver against our priorities and we have a lot to be proud of in our achievements. This has only been made possible by the collaboration of partners across Wales.”
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