Substance Misuse

Substance misuse includes both drugs and alcohol it affects not only the individual, but their family, friends, and the wider community.

Our aim

To reduce the harms from alcohol and substance misuse, support the recovery community, reduce the availability of low-cost, high strength alcohol, use licensing powers to promote the responsible drinking, improve outcomes for people with complex needs (toxic trio – mental health, substance misuse, domestic abuse). This work is also reflected in the Health and Wellbeing Strategy.

Why this is a priority

Drug and alcohol misuse remains a significant driver for acquisitive and violent crime in the evening economy. There are also links to adverse childhood experiences.

The cost of substance misuse is far-reaching, including not only financial costs, substance misuse is widely recognised as a driver for anti-social behaviour and crime. It is also linked to a number of poor outcomes for adults and young people, in particular poor health and social problems such as unemployment, homelessness and poverty.

Portsmouth suffers more alcohol-related harm than the England-average across a range of measures, including alcohol-related deaths.

Portsmouth has a higher rate of opiate and crack cocaine users than the national estimated average and one of the highest rates of drug-related deaths in England.

While drug offences and drug-related offences only account for a small volume of total crime, this type of crime can be particularly harmful and is often linked to other crimes of exploitation such as modern slavery, human trafficking, child sexual exploitation, criminal exploitation of children and vulnerable adults. The annual reports from Portsmouth Safeguarding Boards for children and adults pick up the majority of work to combat these types of crime.

What we know  

  • For every £1 spent on young people’s drug and alcohol treatment there is a lifetime benefit of £5- £8. 
  • For every £1 spent on adult treatment £2.50 is saved in crime and NHS costs

However, in Portsmouth there has also been an overall decline in the numbers of people in drug treatment services, (particularly those aged 18-24years), which may be linked to reductions in service capacity.

Analysis of these deaths showed that in addition to the illicit drugs which contributed to a number of deaths, a high percentage also involved prescribed opiates and benzodiazepines. This has highlighted a gap in support available for those addicted to prescribed medicines, which the substance misuse service does not currently have the capacity to provide.

Our substance misuse plan and updates

Do you need support?

Call the Recovery Hub on 023 9275 1617 for access to drug and alcohol support.

More information

The National Drug Strategy