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Nick calls for debate on Substance Misuse provision

January 12, 2009

drugsNick Perry, Lib Dem parliamentary campaigner for Hastings & Rye, is calling for a multi-agency and cross-party debate on substance misuse provision in Hastings and Rother.

Nick, who works as a mental health social worker locally, has contacted practitioners in various agencies including local GPs, the police and the voluntary sector, to get their views on current provision, gaps in provision, and how services might be improved.

Speaking at the weekend, Nick said,

“It has become clear to me through my work that it is important for us to have a debate locally about whether or not we have the right combination of services available to people with addiction problems.

“This issue is too important to become mired in party politics. I am inviting people of all political persuasions to take part.

“It is true that there is a complex relationship between addictions, homelessness and mental health services. There are also gaps in provision for middle class drinkers and users of street drugs.

“Substance misuse has an impact not only on the immediate individuals and their families, but also for the wider community in respect of crime and disorder, health and social services budgets. There is the real possibility that the wider social impact of substance misuse problems will become more prominent as the recession deepens.”

In support of Nick’s call, local GP Hugh Nicholson said, “This is a timely piece of work because there is nothing more miserable than being kept for years in the ‘sub-life’ of substance misuse.”

Leader of the Lib Dem Group on the County Council, Cllr David Rogers, is helping Nick to establish baseline information on the monies being spent locally on these problems, via the Health Overview & Scrutiny Committee.

Local GP Dr Paul Seal said, “The lack of funding is a major factor in substance misuse and alcohol misuse, and I think that as a starting point it would be very useful to look at what monies are allocated and what outcomes are achieved.”

Nick hopes to take the outcome of his research to the local Primary Care Trust in due course.

[What do you think about Substance Misuse provision locally?  Please use the form below to send in your views]

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