Bassetlaw: Opinions clash at local drugs debate

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Feelings and passions ran high at a Bassetlaw public consultation meeting over a proposed restructuring of adult drug and alcohol treatment services in Notts.

Bassetlaw MP John Mann proclaimed that the proposals would be ‘a disaster’ for Bassetlaw and would undo 10 years of good work to rid the region of its drug problems.

But county representatives said the well-being and wishes of Bassetlaw people were fundamental to their thinking and would be treated with the highest priority.

Among the loudest dissenting voices was a former addict, who gave her name as Caroline from Retford.

“If it hadn’t been for this programme that we have in Bassetlaw, I would be dead,” she said.

“I think to change this programme would be very harmful.”

“I pay my taxes now and I live in my own house but although I’m not a user any more, I’m still not recovered as it were, that will take many years.”

“I would have to find my bus fare from Retford to Worksop to get treatment under the new proposals and that wasn’t the case before.”

The time-scale argument was backed up by a drug rehabilitation worker, who did not want to be named, but said: “At the end of the six-month period, they are suggesting that treatment for someone could then stop, but some people will always need much longer,” she said.

Mark Hunter, a member of the local Liberal Democrats, added: “If you make changes to something like this, it takes a year for them to fully take effect and in that year, more people die and that’s unacceptable.”

But Barbara Brady, a public health consultant at the county council, said: “We’ve got quite an inequitable service administration, our system is complex and quite disconnected. This will connect things up and help users.”