Swansea In Heroin Treatment ‘Crisis’

A drugs project claims heroin addicts in Swansea seeking to kick their habit are waiting over a year for help. Swansea Drugs Project said there was a “crisis” in the availability of treatment and called for more funding.

It said there had been a “drastic increase” in the availability of the heroin in the city.

The Welsh Assembly Government said recognised the importance of tackling substance misuse and was investing money into the problem.

Swansea Drugs Project manager Ifor Glyn said: “The situation in Swansea for those wanting medical support to come off heroin is at crisis point.

“As an agency we have people who have been waiting to be prescribed substitutes for heroin for over 12 months.

“Are we supposed to tell people asking for help – come back in 12 months we may be able to help you then? We need to fast track people when they are motivated not put them on lengthy waiting lists.

“If help is to be made available to meet this demand, there needs to be an increase in the number of prescribing places, if not , then we are likely to see more and more parents, partners and children losing loved ones because of drugs.”

Det Ch Insp Peter Azzpodardi said last year there had been 16 drug related deaths in Swansea and 138 non-fatal overdoses.

So far this year there had been two deaths and 12 non-fatal overdoses.

He said police were aware “that there are many social and economic factors” that impacted on the problem.

“Another significant issue is the capacity that is available to treat individuals who have sought assistance from the treatment agencies who are struggling to cope with the demand.”

Last month police revealed officers had seized heroin and cannabis with an estimated street value of more than £100,000 during a month-long crackdown on anti-social behaviour in the city.

A spokesman for the assembly government said more money was being made available for treatment facilities.

“There are now 550 more treatment places in Swansea than in 2003/04 and over 10,000 across Wales,” he said.

“We have also recently provided the Swansea Drugs Project with over £1m from our Substance Misuse Action Fund Capital Programme to buy and refurbish a new premises in Swansea which will create a further 700 treatment places over the next 2 years.”

He said a consultation into tackling substance misuse is to begin next week.