Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Drink, Drugs and Committee Business

Health, Social Care and Housing Committee this morning. Busy agenda and some serious items issues were considered. The full meeting papers are available on this link.

Most discussion centred on two specific reports. Firstly, New Psychoactive Substances , sometimes referred to as Legal Highs although "Legal" should not be misinterpreted as safe, quite the opposite in fact. We heard that many of these substances, whose ingredients are not always clear, have been implicated in recent deaths and other incidents that are causing great concern to the Police and NHS. Bizarre and dangerous behaviours can follow their consumption / injecting leading to harm to the user and others. Some of the anecdotal evidence is truly frightening. Committee agreed an addition to the recommendations as follows –

“ Committee is concerned about the harmful impact of NPS in Edinburgh.

In addition to the ongoing work being carried out by Police Scotland, NHS, EADP and other agencies, Committee requests that the Leader of the Council writes to the Scottish and Westminster Governments seeking meetings to discuss the legal framework within which public agencies are operating and looking at ways of overcoming existing legal barriers to controlling NPS and preventing harm.”

The second report referred to a strategy being produced on behalf of the Edinburgh Partnership looking at reducing the negative impact of alcohol in the city. One of the headline stats was "Approximately 7,000 children in Edinburgh live with parents with some level of problematic alcohol use" - a sobering thought, no pun intended. Committee agreed the recommendations and added - 

“ Committee supports the work of the strategy group established by the Edinburgh Partnership to produce a higher level strategy on alcohol to underpin the delivery of the SOA 2015-18 and requests that the group’s findings be shared across all relevant service areas within the Council to ensure an effective Council wide approach.”

Drink, drugs and growing demands on public services is not a good combination. Further work to follow and solutions need to be found.

Juniper Green Community Council this evening at the Village Hall. Going to keep one eye on the weather, snow is forecast overnight that might make travelling tomorow difficult.

No comments: