Posted: Fri 4th Aug 2023

New forum created to prevent and reduce substance harm in North Wales

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Aug 4th, 2023


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In a concerted effort to combat the pervasive issue of substance misuse, North Wales has established a new body known as the Preventing and Reducing Harm Forum.

Chaired by Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin, the forum held its first meeting at the North Wales Police HQ, demonstrating a united approach in addressing substance-related concerns.

The forum represents a collaborative commitment by various stakeholders including local authorities, police, probation services, and third-sector organisations.

Managed by Kirsty Brooke of the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board Harm Reduction Team, the forum plans to employ multi-agency working practices and share best practices.

“This focus on prevention is key as it reduces the impact on a community and lowers demand on already stretched public services,” Mr Dunbobbin said, emphasising the broad perspective necessary in tackling substance misuse.

Quarterly meetings will provide an avenue for discussion and agreements on common actions, taking a public health approach.

The forum’s responsibilities include monitoring emerging trends, implementing action plans, and overseeing programmes such as the Take Home Naloxone Programme, Needle and Syringe Programme, and the North Wales Alcohol Prevention Strategy.

The creation of this forum builds on previous efforts in the area. In June of the previous year, Mr Dunbobbin was invited to the Home Affairs Select Committee to discuss the police’s approach to combating drug crime in North Wales, underlining the importance of partnership working.

Substance misuse is a multi-faceted problem requiring a nuanced approach. Paul Firth, Regional Commissioning and Development Officer (Substance Misuse), commented: “Substance misuse is insidious, can affect any family and, when it does, it needs a mitigating approach. No organisation can approach this issue in isolation… This is the right approach at the right time.”

This initiative reflects a broader societal recognition that addressing substance misuse requires a community-wide, integrated strategy.

As the new forum sets its sights on implementing comprehensive plans, North Wales takes a pioneering step in a direction that prioritises the health, social, and economic wellbeing of its residents.

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