Special policy cabinet to debate tackling addiction

The impact of addiction on local people and their family, carers and communities will be discussed at a special policy cabinet which has been organised by Newcastle City Council this week.

Taking place on Wednesday, 10 April at 4.30pm at the Basement Café, Tru Knit House in Carliol Square, the public meeting is intended to stimulate a debate on the human as well as the financial cost of substance addiction in Newcastle. 

The city has a strong a thriving recovery community where many people are getting well and this debate is about how we build on the strengths we have.

It is recognised addiction can impact anyone however, this meeting will focus on drugs and alcohol.

Every year, drug addiction cost the NHS £448m and every dependent drinker is estimated to cost £2,300 annually.

In Newcastle alcohol misuse is £150m including costs to services such as the NHS and wider impacts on the economy.  At a time of austerity, this represents a massive wasted opportunity to invest positively in communities and individuals  

Individuals use substances for a number of reasons, and not everyone who uses will become addicted or dependent but those addicted stand to lose everything including health, housing, work, family and friends. 

But it is estimated that every 31p spent on drug treatment saves £2.50 in wider costs to communities and their services.

For those who develop a dependency, strong links have been evidenced with social problems - addiction goes hand in hand with poor health, homelessness, family breakdown, domestic abuse, exploitation and offending.

During tomorrow’s policy cabinet these factors will be discussed as well as the evolving agenda including increasing availability of performance and image enhancing drugs and also the affects of ‘legal highs’.

Cllr Veronica Dunn, Newcastle City Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Services and Public Health, said: “Supporting opportunities that help people struggling with addiction achieve and maintain a health approach is a key priority for us to protect them, their family and community.  As a council we are committed to taking bold leadership in our new lead responsibility for public health, and will shortly be publishing a set of draft plans setting out our vision and commissioning intentions in the coming weeks.  I would welcome the views and opinions of our city’s people and would urge them to engage with us either at tomorrow’s meeting or in the future.” 

For more information of If you would like to come along phone Paul Staines on 0191 277 7524.