On Monday the 16th of October, James Evans MS attended an event organised by Kaleidoscope to highlight the need to improve the level of support for people facing drug, alcohol & mental health issues.
Speaking at the event, James said.
"Many in politics don't see drug users as people and that comes from the fact that we have a punishment system, not a justice system on drug use. We need to focus on helping people come off drugs. Education and prevention are the starting points to that I'm keen to draw on a number of different schemes that have taken place around the world to help address this."
Following the event, James said.
"Scotland became the first UK nation to commit to safe facilities for the consumption of illegal drugs. I largely welcome the news and I look forward to seeing the clinical feedback on its success. Portugal’s first Mobile Drug Consumption Room (MDCR) has been operating for over three years in two Lisbon neighbourhoods. Drug policy reform there was combined with a change in approach to drug education, moving away from abstinence based ‘Just Say No’ campaigns. As a result, Portugal has gone from accounting for over 50% of yearly HIV diagnoses linked to injecting drug use in the EU to 1.7%
However, I must emphasis that initiatives such as this must be met with a long-term rehabilitation strategies, to ensure that individuals receive the support they need in moving away from drug addiction."
James will continue to support Kaleidoscope in the work that it does and advocate for the potential for safe consumption rooms to be piloted in Wales.