Substance Misuse

Substance misuse is a complex problem that reaches all our communities in Wales. It has far-ranging and harmful implications for both individuals, families and communities. 'Working Together to Reduce Harm' is the Welsh Government’s ten year plan to tackle the problems caused by drugs and alcohol in Wales.

The Strategy sets out the Government’s approach to tackling the full range of substances that are misused in Wales and covers:

  • alcohol
  • illegal drugs such as heroin, cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamines, LSD and cannabis
  • prescription only medicines (POM) such as anabolic steroids and benzodiazepines
  • over the counter medicines (OTC) such as preparations containing codeine
  • volatile substances such as aerosol propellants, butane, solvents and glues

The Strategy has four areas for action:

  1. Preventing Harm: helping children, young people and adults resist or reduce substance misuse by providing information about the damage that substance misuse can cause to their health, their families and the wider community
  2. Supporting Substance Misusers: to improve their health and aid and maintain recovery thereby reducing the harm they cause themselves, their families and their communities
  3. Supporting Families: reducing the risk of harm to children and adults as a consequence of the substance misusing behaviour of a family member
  4. Tackling Availability and Protecting Individuals and Communities: reducing the harms caused by substance misuse related crime and anti-social behaviour, by tackling the availability of illegal drugs and the inappropriate availability of alcohol and other substances

The 22 CSPs have the lead responsibility for delivering the Strategy at a local level although Area Planning Boards have been put in place to help the planning and development of services at the regional level.

Drug and Alcohol Helpline 0800 6 335588. DAN 24/7 is the all-Wales drug and alcohol helpline. The bilingual helpline is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and calls from UK landlines are free (some mobile phone networks may charge). The helpline offers support and advice to:

  • existing and potential drug users
  • families, parents and carers
  • Drug Interventions Programme clients
  • substance misuse professionals both from Wales and outside the area

Links: Welsh Government l Home Office l Alcohol Concern Cymru l Health Challenge Wales l Guidance for Substance Misuse Area Planning Boards l The substance misuse strategy for Wales 2008-18 and annual report


For more information contact: Rachel Morgan

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The Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) represents the interests of local government and promotes local democracy in Wales.

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