Reducing drug use in Welsh prisons

This week in the Assembly I asked for a Welsh Government statement on reducing drug use in prisons:

“We know that no prison in Britain is drug free and that this situation is getting worse. Drug use in prison fuels violence, suicide, self-harm and has a serious detrimental impact on mental health. This undermines rehabilitation as often offenders are stuck in a cycle of offending fueled by drug addiction. Whilst I understand this is primarily a role for UK Government, obviously when people leave prison they are released back into the community and use local services. A statement on how NHS Wales and other support services are working with prison authorities on reducing drug use with offenders would be valuable.”

In response, Leader of the House, Rebecca Evans AM told Ms Bryant that the Welsh Government has been working hard to address the issue through its substance misuse strategy for the last decade.

Ms Evans added: “We’re undertaking some significant work with our partners in this area to reduce the harms associated with substance misuse. The substance misuse services in prisons are delivered in line with clinical guidance and prison health teams work in partnership with community services—so, for instance with the Dyfodol programme, to ensure that support is provided throughout the criminal justice system and people’s journey through that. Our take-home naloxone programme is provided to prisons at the point of release, and that’s really important in terms of preventing harm when people do return to the community and we know it has helped target and reduce drug-related deaths within the community. There’s a current prescribing pilot in HMP Swansea and that will inform future improvements to substance misuse services in prison.”