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Positive feedback to substance strategy in first review

Positive feedback to substance strategy in first review

Saturday 03 June 2023

Positive feedback to substance strategy in first review

Saturday 03 June 2023

Efforts to focus more on recovery and rehabilitation, rather than the criminalisation of harmful behaviours, are said to be working, with the island's first Combined Substance Use Strategy published this week showing progress across a number of target areas.

The approach was established in 2018 when Guernsey and Alderney agreed that a Combined Substance Use Strategy looking at issues around drugs, alcohol and tobacco should be set up.

The Combined Substance Use Strategy 2022 Annual Report was published this week and it's the first one since the new strategy was launched.

The report's authors claim the strategy is on target to achieve its aims by 2026.


Pictured: The strategic outcomes planned for the combined strategy.

The Health Improvement Commission (HIC) has led the strategy since its inception and its three main strategic aims are to promote and protect health and wellbeing, to minimise the harm caused by substance use and promote recovery and rehabilitation, and to provide evidence-based treaties, legislation, policy and actions.

It is said that of its achievements over the past five years the work on helping people to stop smoking and to manage alcohol consumption in a healthy way have been productive, while work in the prison to help people change their substance use patterns has also been effective.

Andrea Nightingale, the Substance Use Lead for the Health Improvement Commission said work focused on children and young people's health has also seen positive results with continuing work towards regulating e-cigarettes following Guernsey's decision to ban smoking in cars carrying children.

Andrea nightingale Nicola brink

Pictured: (L-R) Andrea Nightingale and Nicola Brink.

"This Strategy is very much focussed on prevention and early intervention integrated into effective treatment services, ensuring they are person centred and trauma informed," Ms Nightingale explained.

"The close partnership working with Public Health enables the Strategy to concentrate on the operational delivery whilst Public Health ensures the wider determinants of health are considered through legislation and policies.

"We are also very grateful to our commissioned services in the community; In- Dependence and Action for Children, as well as the Community Drug and Alcohol Team who provide a range of support to people who live with substance use dependence as well as affected family members."


Pictured: Positive feedback was received across the different services involved with the combined substance strategy.

The HIC oversees island wide policies such as the Healthy Weight, Tobacco Control and Drug and Alcohol Strategies meaning all harm reduction and wellbeing focused policies are now being managed together.

As well as their work as a commissioning body, the HIC delivers initiatives, funds community-led projects and services, develops and implements campaigns, develops resources, and provides education, while advocating for health, supporting workforce development and training and advising on policy creation.

The island's Public Health department leads on treaties, legislation and policy, with the Combined Substance Use Strategy overseen by the Substance Use Technical Team, a multidisciplinary group which includes representatives from Pharmacy, Mental Health Services, Primary Care, Bailiwick Law Enforcement, and a member of the public who is an expert by experience as well.

Dr Nicola Brink, Director of Public Health said this brings togethers numerous experienced view points on substance use and misuse.

"Public Health has worked in close partnership with the Health Improvement Commission and other partners who make up the Technical Team to deliver the Strategy and we look forward to continuing this close working relationship as we implement the strategic aims of the Strategy."

The Combined Substance Use Strategy 2021-2026 is measured against Key Performance Indictors, with all data publicly available at

A progress spreadsheet has been developed along with additional data and evidence.


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