Renfrewshire Community Planning Partnership has set up an alcohol and drugs commission to explore innovative ways of reducing the impact of problematic substance use, with a particular focus on prevention and early intervention.
Run in partnership with Renfrewshire Council, the commission will look at all aspects of problematic substance use and its affect across a range of policy areas and treatment services.
In 2017, there were 38 drug-related deaths and 44 alcohol-related deaths in Renfrewshire.
The commission – chaired by Councillor Jacqueline Cameron and made up of professionals from across health and social care, housing, justice, third sector and higher education – will take evidence from people who have lived experience of substance use and their family members and produce recommendations for improvement to services.
Other members include Scottish Drugs Forum’s CEO David Liddell, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde director of public health Dr Linda de Caestecker, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde associate medical director Dr Saket Priyadarshi and chief executive of the Scottish Recovery Consortium Jardine Simpson.
Jacqueline Cameron said: “We know the devastating impact that alcohol and drug use has not only on the individuals affected, but also their friends and families and the wider community.
“We also know we are only dealing with the tip of the iceberg when we support those already in contact with the services available.
“If we want to make a difference, we have to do things differently and as a local authority we are uniquely placed to bring people round the table to help make that difference and find solutions that will work.
“To continue to improve the health and wellbeing of people in Renfrewshire, and to allow everyone to fulfil their potential, it’s essential for us to identify the people who are in most need of our help.
“To do this, we need to gain a true picture of how drug and alcohol use is impacting upon the lives of people of all ages and look closely at how we use early intervention and prevention to support people affected by alcohol and drug use.
“The work of the Alcohol and Drugs Commission builds on the work of our previous Tackling Poverty Commission, the findings of which have since delivered real benefits for families across the area.
“By working with partners and agencies across a whole range of services including housing, education, and health and social care, we want to identify key priorities to make a significant difference to Renfrewshire and the people who live here.”
The commission is expected to conclude in early 2020 and will then report back with its findings and recommendations.