Third of young people in Flintshire have drug or alcohol problem

A THIRD of young people living in Flintshire have an alcohol or drug problem according to a hard-hitting new report. The study reveals that 30.8 per cent of those aged between 16-24 living in the county have a substance misuse problem.

The study, which the Evening Leader obtained details of today, also revealed that more than 10,000 children in the county are affected by parents with drug and alcohol problems.

The ‘Expanding Futures’ survey was carried out as part of the community safety partnership’s substance misuse action teams ‘commissioning strategy’.

The report assessed both Flintshire, Denbighshire and Conwy.

The majority of the total is made up of people who have a mild dependence on alcohol and drugs, with cannabis accounting for the majority of those with dependency problems.

In the charts describing drug dependence, illicit drugs such as cocaine, crack, ecstasy and heroin were also included.

Among adults and young people in Flintshire, it was found that nearly 28,000 people drink ‘hazardous’ levels of alcohol in a week, with the majority of those drinking on five or more days.

Lesley Dayley, operations manager of the young people’s drug and alcohol team for Flintshire County Council, says the team is currently providing educational services to all the county’s high schools as well as targeting local communities with the help of specialist staff who work on a one-to-one basis with young people with identified substance and alcohol problems.

Children’s service manager for the Families Matter Project in Buckley, Sarah Matthews, said: “The children of substance misusing parents are more likely to be physically, sexually and emotionally abused, have poor educational outcomes, become involved in the criminal justice system, be taken into the care of the Local Authority and are seven times more likely to become substance misusers themselves.

“The Families Matters Project has so far worked with 78 parents since it commenced in September 2007.”

Although the project is working with 45 children at the present time, Sarah says that they are ‘just touching the tip of the iceberg’.

Since the start of the Barnardo’s projects, the Big Lottery-funded Street Level and the council-funded Hidden Harm, the team have worked in partnership with other agencies to return two children home from the care of the local authority.

They have also removed three children from the child protection register and nine children have been closed to Social Services, as ‘children in need’.

Sarah added: “There is a whole debate around early intervention versus treatment which is most cost effective. Whilst there is a substantial amount of money being invested in treatment there is relatively much less being invested into early intervention.

“The work that we are trying to do ultimately is to enable children and young people to have better outcomes and prevent them from becoming the next generation of substance misusing parents.

“In other words- break the cycle.”