One of the most influential reports regarding children, young people and substance misuse was the Health Advisory Service report The Substance of Young Needs 1996, (reviewed 2001) which recommended the introduction of a tiered approach and which local SMAT commissioners have been developing during the past few years. THE PLACE in partnership with the health service provides a comprehensive range of services across the substance misuse tiers or make referrals to appropriate services to meet needs.
A generic and primary service providing drug education; information; simple interventions, identification and referral of Young drug users – responsibility of the key worker to undertake this level of support.
A youth orientated service providing all of Tier 1, plus drug related prevention and targeted education, advice and general counselling service, specific interventions addressing factors in vulnerability.
A service providing young people’s specialist drug services and other specialised services that work with complex cases requiring multi-disciplinary teams based work e.g. Specialist substance specific interventions, mental health issues, family assessment. – E.g. YOS Drugs Worker and other specialist agencies.
A service providing very specialised and intensive forms of intervention for young drug misusers with complex care needs. Service may include specialist residential services and mental health teams.
The Welsh Assembly Government Substance Misuse Strategy, Working Together to Reduce Harm 2008 – 2018 prioritises the need to focus on children and young people .This has been supported with new resources during the past two years which has seen an expansion in the provision for children and young people affected by substance misuse in Swansea.
This strategy places children and young people at the heart of the Welsh Substance Misuse agenda with clear guidance on targeting and prioritising. The PLACE was established and developed to address these priority areas and to work collaboratively with partners to ensure a holistic service that is both evidence based and works within boundaries of good practice. Some of the headlines from the strategy include:
- Preventing harm through education and prevention
- Targeting those most vulnerable
- Targeting interventions
- Safeguarding children and young people from the harmful effects of theirs of others misuse
- Greater focus on alcohol
- Promoting Inclusion with minority groups and individuals including Swansea’s ethnic minority communities)
- Addressing needs of parents and guardians
- Engaging substance misusers in appropriate treatment
- Improve engagement.
These aims are shared by the Swansea SMAT and a number of local strategies, forums and providers - being especially true for the Swansea’s Young People’s, Health and Social Care Strategies. It was as a result of national; and local prioritising that in March 2010 that “THE PLACE” was officially launched in Swansea – the first dedicated specialist substance misuse service for children and young people in Wales.