In May 2012, in response to an initiative by Caroline Lucas MP, the Safe in the City Partnership convened a commission of those involved in reducing the harm caused by drug use, to bring a fresh look at the city’s response to the problems and to suggest ways in which the local agencies could be more successful in reducing drug related harm that mattered to the citizens of Brighton & Hove.
The commission found much to commend in the current strategies and programmes: In recent years, the police, council, health services and community organisations have all worked well together and introduced some new ways of preventing and reducing drug related harm. These initiatives have contributed to a reduction in the number of drug related deaths in the city from 50 in 2009 to 29 in 2011. Overall rates of drug use in the city are coming down, and more people than ever successfully receive treatment services. We know, too, that a significant majority of young people growing up in Brighton & Hove have never used an illegal drug.
However, the commission consider that there is more that can be done to help people in the city be safe from drug related harm and therefore, over the last 9 months, the commission has been looking at four key questions:
- Are the current strategies to prevent drug related deaths sufficient to achieve a significant reduction in the coming years?
- Are the policing, prosecution and sentencing strategies currently pursued, effective in reducing drug related harm?
- Are we doing enough to protect young people and to enable them to make informed decisions around drug use and involvement in drug markets?
- To what extent does the treatment system meet the treatment and recovery needs of the citizens of Brighton & Hove?
For each question, the commission held discussions with local and national experts and local residents to help them to understand the challenges and possible responses, and has drawn up some preliminary conclusions and recommendations.
The commission would like your feedback on these recommendations, please go to the city consultation portal to give your feedback by 1 March 2013, so that the commission can consider your views before publishing their final report at the end of March 2013.
On February 27th, a public meeting will take place hosted by Caroline Lucas with invited speakers from the Commission. All are welcome.
The meeting will take place at City College Main Hall, Pelham Street 6 – 7.30pm