Alcohol and Drugs Consultation Summary report
The consultation has received input from a diverse range of stakeholders and there has been a positive engagement response, i.e. groups were enthusiastic about being involved and were grateful to have been consulted. Stakeholder groups are invested in the topic as a result of its relevance to individuals and communities across the borough. The effects of alcohol and substance misuse are perhaps more visible in Stockton compared to other areas as a result of the prison, treatment services and hostels in close proximity to the city centre, which provides concentrated populations of people with treatment needs. There are also other local characteristics relating to substance misuse, not shared by other North East localities, such as a street sex market which is mostly driven by substance misuse (i.e. sex for money for drugs). As well as groups with significant treatment needs, e.g. substitute prescriptions, there is also alcohol and substance misuse in populations of disadvantage, which contributes to the creation of local health inequalities. There may also be a personal imperative from stakeholders who may have issues themselves, or have a family member or loved one who may have treatment needs. There is therefore a selection of needs from a range of communities, which additionally includes the needs of groups with protected characteristics. The challenge is to adequately and effectively provide for those range of needs, which is unlikely to happen unilaterally.
The consultation actively sought out and engaged with alcohol and drug users, living in hostel accommodation and accessing local treatment services. During the discussions, it was identified that the localities which hold these populations, provide as much as an opportunity, for treatment and recovery, as they do a threat, from alcohol and drug-related antisocial behaviour/public disorder. As there is limited service user involvement in current treatment services, we think it would be worthwhile for service development to further look into the opportunity that this presents with service users. This should use a participatory development/coproduction framework and an asset-based, community-centred approach, to investigate needs and response, and importantly to stimulate a service user response.
The views expressed in this report are those of Dr Christopher Hartworth of Barefoot Research and Evaluation and may not necessarily be those of Public Health Stockton on Tees.