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MP urged to support ‘fix room’ for drug users in Wrexham

Published date: 17 July 2017 |
Published by: Jonathan Grieve 
Read more articles by Jonathan Grieve  Email reporter


 

Wrexham MP Ian Lucas has been urged to support the idea of setting up a “fix room” in the town where drug addicts can inject safely and hygienically.

The invitation came from North Wales police and crime commissioner who is calling for a “more enlightened, tolerant and effective” way of tackling the drugs issue.

Mr Jones, an ex-police inspector and a former Wrexham councillor, says a new approach is essential because “the war on drugs has failed”.

He was responding to criticism from Mr Lucas who claimed that Mr Jones wasn’t doing enough to address anti-social behaviour in the town.

According to the commissioner, nothing could be further from the truth.

Mr Jones said: “North Wales Police have put a lot of effort into dealing with this situation but we cannot arrest our way out the problem.

“It’s being caused largely by problematic drug use which needs to be treated as a health issue not as a criminal matter and we need other agencies to play their part.

“The Chief Constable and I responded to local concerns following an event in Wrexham last November to consult about the Police and Crime Plan.

“Neither Mr Lucas nor the local AM, Lesley Griffiths, attended the event.

“As a result of that meeting we included a section on Safer Neighbourhoods in the plan as a priority. That was as a direct consequence of representations made to us at this meeting.

“Mr Lucas also did not attend a briefing event for elected politicians to update them on current issues which was hosted by myself and the Chief Constable.

“I have met with numerous local politicians and community leaders as well as frontline drug workers from CAIS and ARCH and there is a consensus that partners should jointly fund a pilot Safe Injecting Facility in Wrexham.

“I do have sympathy for the residents and businesses in Grosvenor Road and there is a way forward.

“If we have a safe injecting facility it would also help address the other problems.

“All it needs is some innovative forward-planning and thinking by all the partners, not just one.

“I have had two meetings with the cabinet secretary for health Vaughan Gething along with my colleague Dafydd Llywelyn, the police and crime commissioner in Dyfed Powys, where we raised concerns around increasing drug related deaths and anti social behaviour as a symptom of the underlying cause of problematic drug use.

“Problematic drug use often co-occurs with mental health issues and homelessness and the anti-social behaviour is symptomatic of underlying causes.

“My office and North Wales Police are already dealing with the symptoms of this problem and it is time others played their part in addressing the underlying causes.

“I would therefore ask Mr Lucas to do something positive to assist me in supporting my call for a safe injecting facility pilot in Wrexham to reduce the anti social behaviour.

“It would also be helpful if Mr Lucas would also ask his colleague Lesley Griffiths, the local AM, to give her support to the idea because this is essentially a health matter and health is a devolved issue.”

Mr Lucas said he would be happy to meet with Mr Jones: “Indeed, I would welcome him attending a meeting with me and with the businesses affected.

“He cancelled an arranged meeting with me on the day of the proposed meeting last year.

“I know that he will not meet constituents about individual concerns, but I do and individuals and businesses have come to me for help on this issue.

“I also agree that we need to find somewhere for people to go in the daytime and have made this view clear already to the council, the police and other agencies.”

For more news from across the region visit leaderlive.co.uk

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  1. Posted by: truth hurts at 12:14 on 17 July 2017 Report

    This man is deranged, it's not about sorting the drug problem out, it's just politics, from his silly little badge to his pop at the MP. What possessed rational people to vote for him last year?

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