Newquay is named drug hotspot
NEWQUAY is Cornwall's number one hotspot for drug abuse and the number of addicts undergoing treatment, the Cornish Guardian has discovered.
A report by the county's Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT), seen by this newspaper, reveals there are 200 adults on recovery programmes in the resort.
Almost three-quarters of those – 143 – are users of opiates (heroin), crack cocaine or both.
This means 12 people in every thousand adults living in the town are receiving drug treatment.
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The report, Adult Drug Treatment Needs Assessment, was drawn up by the Cornwall Council team and the local NHS and aims to track drug use and create a strategy for treatment opportunities.
DAAT manager Bob Crossland said it was "no major surprise" that Newquay was at the top of the hotspot list, due to issues such as the town's homeless population and the high-quality support services available.
The resort was number one for several reasons but that was "not a bad thing", as "it shows people who need treatment are getting it".
"There's no single reason why one's at the top of the list," said Mr Crossland. "Part of it's linked to the population.
"I think it's linked to what other support and facilities there are in the area and the fact that we have supported accommodation in Newquay. There'll be accommodation for people still using [drugs], and other places where people were using.
"It's a never-ending story. The largest numbers of addicts in drug treatment live in the larger towns.
"It relates to the way people live. We can access illegal drugs anywhere and it isn't easier in Newquay than it is in other towns.
"Newquay's at the top of the treatment tree. That's good; it shows people who need treatment are accessing it. We're making sure people have the right type of support."
An investigation carried out by this newspaper last winter revealed Newquay had an "inner-city" homelessness problem.
Mr Crossland said there was a definite relationship between deprivation and drug and alcohol use.
"There are strong links between homelessness and drugs and alcohol but we can't put an equals sign in there," he said.
"It's much more difficult to engage homeless people in treatment than it is if you're settled – [though] that's not to say they don't have problems."
The report shows Newquay has the county's highest number of drug users in treatment, followed by Penzance, Bodmin and St Austell.
Drug treatment in Cornwall costs £8.4 million a year overall, including £3.3 million on prescribing.
The report shows a 49 per cent treatment success rate in 2010 to 2011, with the majority of referrals coming through GPs (31 per cent), self-referrals (25 per cent) and the criminal justice system (14 per cent). Others come via social services and probation services, for example.
Users' recovery involves skill development, education and training, employment and accommodation. They will also be offered peer support and mentoring, aftercare groups and are provided with clothing, travel expenses and food packs.
Bosence Farm Community and the Boswyns detox and rehabilitation centres both treat former users at different stages of their recovery.
They are situated on the same site in Townshend, Hayle, and are the only two of their kind in Cornwall.
Mr Crossland said money spent on treatment was "money well spent.
"£1 [on treatment] will save the local community £2 or £3 later on," he said.
"One of the aims that we have is to get everybody who wants treatment to get treatment. If we had a magic wand we'd have services open longer, during the evenings and weekends, so there's access to support when it's needed.
"It isn't a nine-to-five problem; it's much wider than that. We work with pharmacies; we work with GPs. They [users] need to have the right place to live and access when the time is right into accommodation. All those things really matter in the long term."