The term 'substance use' refers to the use of drugs or alcohol and includes substances such as cigarettes, controlled drugs, prescription drugs, inhalants and solvents. A substance use problem occurs when using alcohol or other drugs causes harm to a person's physical and mental health and wellbeing.
In 2018, the Committee for Health & Social Care decided that Guernsey and Alderney would have a Combined Substance Use Strategy to include drugs, alcohol and tobacco reflecting the ability of these substances to cause a dependence syndrome.
As part of this Combined Substance Use Strategy, efforts need to be targeted toward individuals and groups who are most at risk. However, there must also be continued efforts to ensure that there are appropriate environments for health and wellbeing, enabling people to make healthy choices.
Where harmful substance use does occur, there needs to be high quality, trauma-informed services that help people improve and recover their health, as well as continuing to tackle the availability of illegal drugs, including the illegal use of prescription medicines.
The Strategy defines goals for the next five years in relation to substance use. Ownership of the implementation of the Strategy will rest with the different operational and political Committees that comprise the States of Guernsey and Alderney, primary and secondary care services and the voluntary and private sectors. This is a whole islands issue and requires a whole system response in line with the principles of the Partnership of Purpose.