Friday 03 July 2020
In early March 2020, the Committee for Health & Social Care announced that work on the development of a combined substance strategy had been paused to enable Public Health Services to concentrate on Guernsey's response to coronavirus.
As a consequence, HSC's planned publication of an independently commissioned report exploring the interaction between the Health and Justice Systems with respect to drug use and how this can best promote the health, wellbeing and safety of people who use drugs and of the wider community was delayed. This report is now being published in full.
HSC remains of the view that a more unified approach to substance misuse is required, balancing the need to tackle the harms caused by drugs, supporting people through treatment and recovery as well as restricting the supply. Prior to March 2020, a joint strategic needs assessment of substance misuse was conducted which will be invaluable in evidencing the development of a combined substance strategy and informing the planned stakeholder and public engagement which will now need to take place early in the next electoral term. This will need to include consideration of whether alternative and non-punitive approaches to some drug possession offences are appropriate in the Bailiwick.
To support this work, HSC had commissioned an independent review by Professor Sumnall of Liverpool John Moores University, to provide a review of the international evidence base on health-orientated approaches to the possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use. HSC considers that this document is a useful resource for all States' members, and the public, to consider ahead of the Assembly's planned consideration of the Justice Review Report later this month.
The full report can be found here