National drugs advisor visits to launch drugs strategy
The Council hosted Dame Carol Black, the UK Government’s independent drugs advisor, on Thursday 8 February, to highlight partnership work being done in Waltham Forest to both tackle the supply of illegal drugs and reduce the harms of drug use.
The Waltham Forest partnership delivery plan ‘Protecting Communities From Harm Caused by Alcohol and Drugs’, which sets out a robust approach to drug dealing and drug use, was launched at the visit. The Council’s approach is indebted to Dame Carol Black’s 2021 Independent Review of Drugs, which informed the UK Government’s 10-year drugs plan.
Dame Carol Black visited key partner Change, Grow, Live, a drugs support charity commissioned by the Council to help the recovery of drugs users through effective treatment, support to address physical and mental health needs, and tools to rebuild their lives. She spoke to CGL staff and residents using the service. She said:
Today I've seen a Combatting Drugs Partnership in action, bringing together the police, probation, public health, the local council, education - everyone you want in the room to help people. That's the first time ever we put all those people together to do the right thing. It's not easy to do. They're having to think about prevention, reducing supply, treatment, and recovery. Putting that together, including housing, getting people into employment - that's a difficult thing. And I've seen the enthusiasm and the determination, with your new framework, to do just that.
The most important conversations I had today were with the individuals who were at the treatment centre at CGL, people who had an addiction problem who were on their journey to get over it. It's very welcoming when you walk into the office they have here - it's not a frightening or clinical environment. They offer a really wonderful wraparound service, whatever your needs.
It's wonderful that I can go out to places and see what I wrote put into action, and talk to real people delivering it on the ground. You can write reports, but if they sit on shelves, and you don't see them in action, that's quite a disappointment. So it's wonderful to visit proper places doing really good things.
She also spoke to Superintendent Lora John, Neighbourhood Superintendent for Waltham Forest, about the partnership work between the Metropolitan Police and the Council to tackle drugs supply lines, as well as increasing patrols and surveillance in Waltham Forest’s hotspots and encouraging community response to report anti-social behaviour.
Find out more about how we’re reducing the harm caused by drugs in Waltham Forest, including how to report drug-related anti-social behaviour, on our Drugs page.