Council sets aside £300K to help young people with drugs and alcohol problems

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Plans to create a new service to help young people in Wakefield with drug and alcohol problems will be considered by council chiefs next week.

Around £300,000 has been set aside to fund the service, which if approved, will provide support to young adults with dependencies and their families.

Such treatment in the city is currently run by the drugs charity GASPED, but the council’s contract with the organisation expires in September.

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With this in mind, a new specialised service could be set up, with the contract awarded to a private operator for an initial three year term. This could later be extended to five should it prove to be a success.

A report prepared for the Council’s Cabinet meeting next week, stated the service would, “deliver a prevention and treatment service which improves the health, wellbeing and quality of life of children and young people affected by drug and alcohol misuse,” while also offering “advice and guidance” to the parents and carers of substance addicts.

With council budgets still subject to volatile interventions from central government, any private firms or charities keen to take on the service will have to show how they could cope if funding was slashed.

While cannabis and alcohol are the major sources of substance misuse in Wakefield, the scheme would also offer help to people struggling with Class A drugs, such as heroin and cocaine.

If councillors decide against creating the service, the report warns that this would mean, “young people who have substance misuse issues would not be able to access treatment and support services” and that this would create a “safeguarding risk”.

By guaranteeing cash for the service, support networks for vulnerable people in Wakefield would be given “stability”, it is added.

A decision on the proposals is expected to be made next Tuesday.