Welsh Government
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Tackling Substance Misuse in Wales: progress update

Hundreds of lives have potentially been saved thanks to significant progress across Wales in the battle against drug and alcohol misuse in the last year, a report published recently shows.

The Welsh Government’s Substance Misuse Annual Report gives an update on actions being undertaken nationally, regionally and locally against priorities in many areas from prevention and education to providing support for those with substance misuse issues and their families.

As well as a 10 per cent fall in drug misuse related deaths in Wales in 2011, many more deaths were potentially prevented by the Take Home Naloxone Scheme, which was extended during the year to cover the whole of Wales .

The scheme, which provides drug users with a kit containing emergency medication to reverse the effects of an overdose, dispensed 1460 kits during the year with 117 of these used.

Other developments over the year include capital support for 52 projects across Wales, the expansion of the DAN 24/7 drug and alcohol helpline, a Change4Life campaign targeted at high risk drinkers who see their drinking habits as harmless.

Welcoming the report, Health Minister Lesley Griffiths said:

"Drug and alcohol misuse has a devastating effect on individuals, families and communities throughout Wales. It is, therefore, a key Programme for Government commitment to reduce the prevalence of substance misuse and the numbers of drug and alcohol related deaths.

"We have to focus on preventing problems in the first place, supporting those with misuse problems and their families – particularly children – and tackling the availability of drugs and alcohol.

"I am, of course, pleased there was a reduction in the number of drug misuse related deaths in Wales last year, however we cannot be complacent. This Annual Report demonstrates clearly the range of actions underway to tackle and reduce the harm associated with substance misuse in Wales.

"Looking ahead, to tackle the increased use of so-called ‘designer drugs’, along with ongoing work we will renew efforts to alert people to the risks and harms of these drugs, including new awareness packs for users and substance misuse workers, and a publicity campaign to commence in the New Year."

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Substance misuse