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GSD pledges ‘radical change’ to tackle drug and alcohol addiction

The GSD has set out proposals to overhaul the approach to dealing with drug and alcohol addiction.

In an opinion piece for this newspaper, GSD Shadow Minister for Drug, Alcohol addiction and rehabilitation Lawrence Llamas said: “The use of hard drugs has become prevalent amongst many of our younger generation.”

“We must accept this is a reality of where the world is today and find ways to deal with this problem.”

Mr Llamas asserted the way forward is to provide for a two pronged pincer strategy which on the one hand provides solid support and educational network for users and on the other a tighter and tougher legislative framework for dealers and pushers.

Additionally, Mr Llamas underscored that addiction is an illness and should be focused from a health and educational perspective.

The GSD’s position is that drugs should not be decriminalised but that emphasis should be given to education, awareness, community service and other programmes to assist users to stop taking drugs or being an addict.

The focus, according to the party, should be on innovative educational programmes, mandatory relevant charity meeting attendance and/or community service.

“Sentencing and imprisoning addicts is not solving any issues for them or for society,” the GSD asserted.

Mr Llamas said: “This follows on from the position already set out in relation to supported employment for individuals who require support in the community, whether persons are rehabilitating offenders, persons with learning disabilities, persons suffering from mental health or persons who suffer from alcohol and/or drug addiction.”

“Without a proper support network and a clear vision, there can be no meaningful results.”

”Rehabilitation services must also be improved to ensure the service can meet the demands of those seeking help, efficiently and sensitively, whilst looking at ways to diversify the actual programme to suit the needs of the individual.”

“There is additionally a need to build support in aftercare services.”

However the GSD proposes to come down “heavily and harder” on the dealers and those responsible for the importation of drugs.

Mr Llamas added that: “Whilst we will come out in strength to support users, addicts and their families in a more empathetic manner it is also important to be harsher with those individuals who make the drugs available in the first place.”

See opinion on page 4 of today's print and e-edition.