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Drugs and Alcohol Services
London is a great city, but the lives of too many individuals, families and some of our poorest communities are blighted by problems linked to the use of alcohol and other drugs. London has one of the highest rates of problem drug use in the country. The effects of this are far-reaching on rates of suicide, mental ill-health, premature death, family breakdown,acquisitive crime, the rise in anti-social behaviour and the degeneration of communities. Alcohol, our favourite drug, can also have a very negative impact on Londoners lives – from the public disorder outside pubs and clubs, through child neglect and youth offending, to the burden on the NHS – eighty per cent of London’s A&E beds at peak times are taken up with alcohol-related admissions.

I made a commitment in my manifesto to bring all the relevant agencies
together to focus resources and efforts on reducing alcohol- and drug-related harm in the capital. I was delighted to announce in July the creation of the Greater London Alcohol and Drug Alliance. This is a new partnership of statutory agencies, voluntary sector organisations and community groups that will ensure we tackle Londonwide problems effectively. We will strive to ensure that London secures the right level of resources from central government to make a real impact on alcohol- and drug-related harm in London. We will also adopt policies and approaches based on evidence rather than rhetoric or anecdote.

I am grateful to the members of the Alliance [Greater London Alcohol and Drug Alliance] and the Expert Advisory Group, who helped shape this policy. I believe that we can only tackle alcohol and drug problems successfully through building strong partnerships between statutory agencies, the voluntary sector and community groups. The key elements of my alcohol and drug policy are involving local communities, strengthening the links between action on alcohol and drugs with employment and housing and regeneration, and improving the quality and effectiveness of drug and alcohol interventions so they meet the
needs of London’s diverse communities. Problem drug and alcohol use is a major public health concern in London, and I am committed to addressing
this to make London a great city for all.
By The Mayor

Introduction

This report sets out the role of the Mayor and his plans to reduce alcohol and drug-related harm in London. The establishment of the Greater London Authority provides a unique opportunity to take an overview of alcohol and drug problems in London and for the Mayor to define a strategic framework to tackle them. Making a difference in this complex area cannot be achieved by the GLA alone. Progress is dependent on establishing and maintaining partnerships across a wide number of agencies and organisations, so that each
organisation is making the best use of its skills and resources, and working towards common goals. The Mayor is committed to working in partnership with a wide range of organisations and community groups to tackle alcohol and drug problems, without duplicating the work of others. This commitment to partnership working has already been demonstrated through the large number of stakeholders engaged to date in the process of developing this policy.

During autumn 2000, a diverse group of academics, community organisations, statutory bodies, drug users and voluntary sector agencies participated in an Expert Advisory Group to the Mayor on alcohol and drugs in London. The Expert Advisory Group developed an initial set of proposals on the GLA’s role and priorities for action. These proposals were circulated to over 500 organisations and individuals in London for comment. This document reflects the conclusions of that consultation exercise and incorporates the many views and responses received. We are grateful to everyone who participated in the Expert Advisory Group and consultation exercise. Membership of the Expert Advisory Group is set out in appendix ii.

The focus of the Mayor’s policy is the problems caused by the supply and use of alcohol and drugs and the aim is to reduce harm. This means recognising that alcohol and drug use will always be part of the lives of some Londoners. Within this context, the Mayor will focus resources on the harm associated with and arising from the use of alcohol and drugs, rather than the substances themselves. Drugs and alcohol both cause problems, and are also symptomatic of other problems in London such as poverty, social exclusion, discrimination and inequality. The aim of this policy is to reduce harm to individuals and to communities in London.