Substance Misuse Strategy
Education and Awareness
A whole system approach to raising awareness and preventing the harms of substance misuse across the life course, particularly for those at greater risk:
Substance misuse has negative consequences on the health and wellbeing of school age children. This harm may occur because children live with a parent/carer (or parents/carers) who misuse drugs and/or alcohol, which may impact upon their parenting ability, and/or, the young person is involved in substance misuse themselves.
We also know that the role of new technology and changing social and cultural norms amongst the 11-18 age group has led to a rise in social media and smartphone use, which has led to a shift in drug type and mode of purchase.
- Promoting an alcohol-free pregnancy. Drinking during pregnancy can lead to long-term harm to the baby, and the greater the amount of alcohol consumed, the higher the risk
- Ensure the early identification and support of parents drinking above recommended guidelines, and increase awareness of the harms caused to babies and children
- Ensure the delivery of high quality Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHE) to school children, providing education around the dangers of drug and alcohol misuse and increase awareness to high-risk groups of school children (additional to PSHE)
As with all drugs, alcohol misuse can lead to a wide variety of problems, ranging from severe dependency and life-threatening health conditions to hangovers or conflict with friends and family. Alcohol harms can affect both individuals and wider society, and alcohol is associated nationally with around half of the violent crime reported each year (12). We need to support a whole population approach to drinking safely, raising awareness of the impacts of unsafe drinking habits on individual health and wellbeing, including raising awareness of drink/drug driving limits and safe drinking limits.
- To develop partnership working in relation to Acquired Brain Injury( ABI) as a result of substance misuse (alcohol or drugs)
- Utilise programmes such as The Cheshire & Merseyside Public Health Collaborative (CHAMPs) Reduction of Harm Through Alcohol programme, working collaboratively across the system to deliver prevention initiatives to help to improve lives.
- Work with employers to ensure they have effective and supportive substance misuse policies
- Further develop a 'Making Every Contact Count' approach for health and social care staff
Alcohol contributes to key lifestyle risk factors, such as being overweight or obese and contributes to falls and fractures in the older population. Older people may have had a lifelong pattern of problem drinking or may first develop drinking problems in later life.
- Increase awareness of alcohol and drug related harm (including the use of alcohol and prescription drugs) among older adults
- Ensure that staff who have face-to-face contact with older people are trained in alcohol identification and brief advice, using an evidence based conversational tool which has been shown to alter drinking behaviour
Early Identification and Intervention
Develop a coordinated approach to early identification of individuals exposed to the harmful effects of drugs and/or alcohol misuse:
- Where appropriate, undertake targeted interventions with high-risk groups of adults, such as: the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBTQ+) community, homeless population and offenders.
- Ensure that staff working in the police, community safety and criminal justice systems, who have face-to-face contact with members of the public, are trained in alcohol identification and brief advice
- Work closely with Primary Care teams to provide training on early identification, and to ensure awareness of clear pathways into treatment services
- Health checks are carried out by GPs every five years for adults over the age of 40 and include lifestyle questions relating to drugs and alcohol. Ensure pathways are in place to support GPs to provide effective support for those identified as having a drug or alcohol problem through their health check.
Develop an approach to the provision of treatment and recovery services that is responsive to the changing trends in drug and alcohol addiction among residents of Cheshire West and Chester:
- Work closely with NHS mental health services and Primary Care, to provide effective recovery pathways for people with dual diagnoses
- Work in close partnership with other health and non-health organisations and agencies to provide an effective and co-ordinated response to substance related harm
- Ensure effective referral pathways are in place across partner organisations, agencies, and local communities
- Provide a community-based needle exchange scheme and encourage people who are injecting drugs to take tests for tuberculosis and blood infections, e.g., hepatitis, as recommended in National Institute for Clinical Evidence (NICE) guidance
- Provide effective solutions when working with people who have been in long-term treatment
- Support for the development and delivery of Alcohol Care Teams (ACTs) in Primary and Secondary care
- Ensure close working with the East and West Cheshire Drug Related Deaths Panel
Ensure a partnership approach towards reducing the harm to our local communities caused by the abuse of drugs and alcohol:
- Working with partners to implement the Community Engaging in Licensing Tool developed by CHAMPs, to support communities to engage in challenging new alcohol licenses and the review of existing alcohol licenses in targeted areas
- Consider the suitability of other tools under the Licensing Act and other schemes to help with issues within the night-time economy and help promote Chester as a safe and vibrant city (e.g., the Purple Flag accreditation programme for town and city centres)
- Restricting drug supply - through effective partnership working, all organisations will support the police and other enforcement agencies to restrict the supply of illicit drugs within Cheshire West and Chester
- Development of a local Drug Alert System
In relation to this strategy, we recognise the key role the Community Safety Partnership plays. We also want to join-up further early help services based on a clear understanding of local needs, including emerging national challenges such as child exploitation. Risks to positive emotional health and wellbeing must also be addressed, including parental substance misuse and the impact of parental conflict and domestic violence. Mental health services need to be more available and accessible with open access and a preventative approach.
Measuring the impact - What will success look like?
- People are able to make informed healthy choices to reduce the harms caused by drug and alcohol abuse
- Local people and communities live without crime and anti-social behaviour caused by drug misuse
- People who require treatment for alcohol and drug dependency are given the best chance to make a full recovery
- Promotion of a diverse, vibrant and safe night-time economy
- Reductions in alcohol specific hospital admissions (working age 18-64)
- Reductions in alcohol specifc admissions (older adults 65+)
- Reductions in alcohol related hospital admissions
- Reductions in alcohol related deaths
- Reductions in drug related deaths
- Reductions in crime related to drugs and/or alcohol
- Adults in substance misuse treatment
- Young People in substance misuse treatment