The Chief Minister has chaired the first meeting of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs since he took ministerial responsibility for this sensitive and important area of policy.
The Council consists of several Ministers, senior Civil Servants, the Commissioner of Police, Collector of Customs, Director of Public Health, CEO of the GHA and other experts in this field.
The Chief Minister told the members of the body that the Advisory Council will meet monthly and will coordinate the implementation of the objectives of a new Drugs Strategy Team. This team, which will be based at No 6 Convent Place, will develop the Government’s strategic objectives regarding the misuse of drugs and will collect data into a centralised drug database in order to inform the strategy. The Team will also develop a community outreach programme, which will include a bespoke website offering awareness resources and rehabilitation information.
The Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said: ‘The misuse of drugs affects our society at every level and it can have far-reaching effects on our families – indeed it can destroy people’s lives. We must act now in a smarter, more coordinated way to build a safer and healthier community and we need to engage with key partners in this field, including health and justice practitioners, educators, and the RGP. We have to engage with different age groups and in respect of different addictions in order to have a positive effect in reducing drug dependency. I was therefore very proud to have chaired the first meeting of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs and I look forward to tackling the issues that addiction and recreational use of drugs can create on a genuine cross-government basis. The Advisory Council and the Drugs Strategy Team will be the keys to delivering a future in which less people suffer the effects of drug addiction directly or in their family lives.