Agenda item

Substance Misuse strategy development

Report to follow


The Director of Public Health spoke to the report.


There was a discussion about how statistics were gathered, including numbers of people involved in alcohol and drugs, and the Commission was advised that numbers were a Public Health England estimate based on actual numbers in treatment.


There was a discussion about issues that surround substance misuse and Members were informed that substance abuse was a complex social issue, which involved issues with drugs supply, criminal exploitation of young people; and that all substance misuse affects  A&E admissions. 


Members were advised that the Council did not have a comprehensive strategy, and one was needed. There was only commissioned services, a strategy was needed to fill gaps.


The was a discussion about strategy development and stakeholder engagement, and the Commission was advised that the Council now had a richer picture after  needs and analysis and  study of evidence; that as part of strategy development there was a need to engage with all organisations and individuals, and workshops were due to start next week with external stakeholders.


Members were told the strategy development would include further work with Councillors and internal departments including Licencing colleagues; and were advised that developers at Temple Back had contacted the Health & Wellbeing Board and asked for input to help them understand how to minimise health risks.  The view was to work with universities and others to promote sensible and safe drinking and ways to achieve it.


The Commission was advised that the strategy would not be just about treatment, but also about interventions, preventions and managing behaviours.


The Deputy Mayor stated that there was a number of initiatives but no coherent whole, so that was the reason there was a need for a strategy; that this would not be a quick thing to do, there was a need to listen to all perspectives.


The Chair asked if the evidence and views collected from the Alcohol harm reduction summit, held by the previous Mayor and PCC, would be utilised, and was advised that no report was produced but the work produced was being built on.


Commission Members asked about the night time economy, and how these stakeholders would fit in to the strategy development, and was told that the consultation would want to gather as many views as possible.  There was a discussion about the idea of modelling in temperance / safer space zones, and it was agreed that it was worth including in the consultation to gain views, and there was not agreement about whether it is a good idea or not among Commission Members.


There was a discussion about budget, and the Commission was advised that the Council invest £10M / year on drug and alcohol services, and the Public Health team, working across the Council was a major resource.


Members said they would like to be involved, and suggested Probation service should be involved.  It was noted that Avon &U Somerset Police were to attend the next workshop, and Probation would be contacted for later workshops.


The Commission was told about the substance misuse badge, part of the Healthy Schools awards scheme.


Questions were raised about current thinking around safe use spaces / rooms?  The Commission was told that drug treatment rooms are not legal so they cannot be considered. There is an eye being kept on Glasgow with reference to heroin t treatment – those interventions were very expensive for a small amount of people.


The Deputy Mayor said that the  Drug strategy for West Midlands included an objective to deliver drug consumption rooms with the knowledge that this can’t be delivered if law doesn’t change.



Members raised queries about the alcohol delivery services and there was a discussion about concerns regarding applications for alcohol licences. It was agreed that there was a need to explore this topic with the Licencing Committee.


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