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Dame Carol Black in Huntingdon to find out how drug misuse is being tackled in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

POLICE and Crime Commissioner, Darryl Preston welcomed Professor Dame Carol Black into Huntingdon today (Thursday 9th June) to understand the challenges around substance misuse and the opportunities arising from the government’s 10-year drug strategy.

Dame Carol, a former Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge was commissioned by the Home Office and the Department of Health and Social Care to undertake an independent review of drugs. This informed the Government’s thinking on what more can be done to tackle the harm that drugs cause, as set out in the Government’s drug strategy published in December 2021 (‘From harm to hope: A 10-year drugs plan to cut crime and save lives’).

Dame Carol met a number of partners involved in delivering the county’s response as well as a local person supported through treatment and recovery programmes.

Change Grow Live are commissioned by Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council to provide drug treatment and recovery services across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. Dame Carol heard about recent progress and innovative work locally, as well as challenges that services across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are addressing.

Vicki Markiewicz, Executive Director at Change Grow Live, said: “We are delighted that Dame Carol visited our Drug and Alcohol service in Cambridgeshire to see first-hand the innovative approach we take to provide services across the county.

“Our dedicated team makes a huge difference to the lives of people across the county every day and the further investment into services that Dame Carol has helped secure, will enable us to help more people across Cambridgeshire.

“This was a great opportunity to share insights into the way we work with partner organisations across the county and how together we support people in need and aim to provide further opportunities for people who may need our support in the future.”

Val Thomas, Deputy Director of Public Health, Cambridgeshire County Council added: “I welcome the visit by Dame Carol as it provided the opportunity to thank her for her support and to present our work in the county to address the challenges of preventing and treating drug and alcohol misuse. We also spoke about how we work as a system to maximise the impact of our interventions and ensure that the diversity of needs are met.”

Professor Dame Carol Black, Independent Government Advisor, said: “I am pleased to have had the opportunity to meet Darryl and other colleagues to hear more about the new Police and Crime Plan for the region. Partnership working is key to tackle public concerns and to enable the recommendations from my independent review of drugs to be implemented successfully.”

“Today was a great opportunity to showcase some of the fantastic partnership work supporting people affected by drug abuse with treatment and recovery, “explains Darryl.

“It was also a chance to listen to someone who has experienced support from local services.

“Whether through tough police enforcement action to break drug supply chains or expanding the capacity of drug treatment and recovery support, we must deal with drug misuse which will in turn help prevent crime.”

Police Officers from Cambridgeshire Constabulary also updated Dame Carol on the police’s ongoing enforcement work to break drug supply chains and protect vulnerable people.

Assistant Chief Constable, Vicki Evans, said: “As a force, we work tirelessly to tackle drug misuse across the county and witness first-hand the criminality it brings to our area, as well as harm to the most vulnerable people in society.

“Working alongside our partners, we are committed to protecting our communities and welcome the government’s new 10-year drug strategy to help us tackle the issue.

“We will continue to target offenders and seek to bring justice to those who supply controlled drugs in Cambridgeshire.”