YOUR AM WRITES: Torfaen AM Lynne Neagle

South Wales Argus: YOUR AM WRITES: Torfaen AM Lynne Neagle YOUR AM WRITES: Torfaen AM Lynne Neagle

WITH the festive season in full swing, it’s very worrying to think that many young people will be experimenting with so called ‘legal highs’ for the first time this Christmas.

This newspaper’s long running ‘M-Cat Menace’ campaign has really effectively highlighted the often devastating impact of these drugs; not just on the health and wellbeing of those who use them, but also on the families and communities that end up caught in the crossfire.

And while thankfully, nobody is calling for a repeat of the ineffective ‘just say no’ approach we saw in the 1980s, there does appear to be a growing consensus that more needs to be done to address this really worrying trend.

This is particularly true in places like the Gwent Valleys, where the use of these drugs is particularly prevalent, and where residents see daily the really serious health and social challenges that can result.

From conversations I’ve had with the police and with health professionals recently, it’s clear that the term ‘legal highs’ is in itself part of the problem.

There’s a very common misconception that somehow because these substances are legal – or were legal in the past – they are safer than controlled drugs.

In reality, the fact that these drugs are so new and therefore under-researched means that people taking them could end up taking massive unforeseen risks with their health, particularly if their use is combined with alcohol and other drugs, and not least because it’s often unclear exactly what substances these ‘legal highs’ contain.

That’s why I believe it’s vital we seek to tackle this issue holistically, and that as well as strengthening the law, we also need to ensure that the NHS and other agencies play their part too – whether that means sharing information on hospital admissions associated with legal highs, for example, or doing more to involve GPs who are often the first port of call for those worried about substance abuse.

Having met with a number of Torfaen councillors and representatives of Gwent Police earlier this month, I intend to make this a campaigning priority in the year ahead.

I’ve already raised the issue with the Assembly’s health minister, and I’m organising a meeting with the health board, the police and other agencies to try and establish a joint approach to tackling this issue locally.

For confidential information and advice, meanwhile, contact the ‘Talk to Frank’ helpline on 0300 1236600 or the Wales Drug And Alcohol Helpline ‘DAN247’ on 0808 808 2234.

Comments (4)

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7:55pm Tue 24 Dec 13

varteg1 says...

Neagle needs to forget the matter of self inflicted abuse by idiots.. let them go to hell the way they wish. No one forces these fools to snort, inject or smoke, drink or imbibe whichever material they do, so what business is it of yours to interfere with what is, no matter how you try to interpret it. ..LEGAL substances.

You'd far better employed getting the waste on the Cymraeg sorted where vast sums are disbursed promoting and forcing it on an unwilling and disinterested population.
It's not your remit to mess with the personal habits,. no matter how intolerable they appear, it's your remit to ensure the majority get the vital support in aspects of funding that does tge most good for the most people.

I fully expect you and hubby dear will be pressurising the Health Minister to cough up massive grants to set up another local quango, another Commissioner on a inordinate salary, with a fully funded establishment behind him/her.

By the way Ms Neagle, I see with a great degree of concern that a project, equally if not worse than the opencast at Varteg you so publicly went against, the race track up near Merthyr, was just passed over to Caerphilly to approve, as Sargent, that friend to yourself and your husband, saw no problems with either pollution matters or funding , despite the fact there are houses and FOOD FACTORIES well within that infamous 500 mtre zone he was so concerned about in Varteg,. hankies to the ready for those crocodile tears you must all have shed. Or is it only coal extraction that bothers you. a project that would have pumped substantial sums into the Torfaen (Varteg) local economy. A project that would last a few years, whereas the racetrack up by Tredegar will, once up and running, be operating, issuing enormous noise, excessive traffic generation and fumes for as long as it stays in business, to the detriment of those living within that 500 mtrs. I wager you were not whispering into Sargents ear over that.

Then again your health minister Mr Draper stated on radio Wales yesterday morning that he was unable to make personal decisions regarding individual cases in health matters, as he relied entirely on the experts in the system to make whatever decisions he would make.

With that statement he effectively shot Sargent right in the heart over his decision over the Varteg project., if one mimnister cannot get involved, why did Sargent get involved, not once ht twice when taking the hand washing he practiced over the racetrack.

Finally, I am rather miffed that you choose to do your little goody two shoes act from a distance, instead of actually residing in the boro' you are supposedly representing.

All well and good doing it by mail and e mail, twittering etc, but shoe leather on the streets of Torfaen would be far more appreciated. At least by me.

A flying visit to the Inquiry last year, and a once in a lifetime visit to the fringes of the opencast site is not enough to satisfy me, and a lot more in this area, that you are aware of what really is the case.

I am well know enough fore you to know where I reside, but just in case it has not yet impacted on you, I live FIFTY metres from the centre of the proposed site, and SUPPORT it, and will; carry on supporting it until it gets Sargent out of the way and approved as it should have been after the Inspectors report said it should so do.
Neagle needs to forget the matter of self inflicted abuse by idiots.. let them go to hell the way they wish. No one forces these fools to snort, inject or smoke, drink or imbibe whichever material they do, so what business is it of yours to interfere with what is, no matter how you try to interpret it. ..LEGAL substances. You'd far better employed getting the waste on the Cymraeg sorted where vast sums are disbursed promoting and forcing it on an unwilling and disinterested population. It's not your remit to mess with the personal habits,. no matter how intolerable they appear, it's your remit to ensure the majority get the vital support in aspects of funding that does tge most good for the most people. I fully expect you and hubby dear will be pressurising the Health Minister to cough up massive grants to set up another local quango, another Commissioner on a inordinate salary, with a fully funded establishment behind him/her. By the way Ms Neagle, I see with a great degree of concern that a project, equally if not worse than the opencast at Varteg you so publicly went against, the race track up near Merthyr, was just passed over to Caerphilly to approve, as Sargent, that friend to yourself and your husband, saw no problems with either pollution matters or funding , despite the fact there are houses and FOOD FACTORIES well within that infamous 500 mtre zone he was so concerned about in Varteg,. hankies to the ready for those crocodile tears you must all have shed. Or is it only coal extraction that bothers you. a project that would have pumped substantial sums into the Torfaen (Varteg) local economy. A project that would last a few years, whereas the racetrack up by Tredegar will, once up and running, be operating, issuing enormous noise, excessive traffic generation and fumes for as long as it stays in business, to the detriment of those living within that 500 mtrs. I wager you were not whispering into Sargents ear over that. Then again your health minister Mr Draper stated on radio Wales yesterday morning that he was unable to make personal decisions regarding individual cases in health matters, as he relied entirely on the experts in the system to make whatever decisions he would make. With that statement he effectively shot Sargent right in the heart over his decision over the Varteg project., if one mimnister cannot get involved, why did Sargent get involved, not once ht twice when taking the hand washing he practiced over the racetrack. Finally, I am rather miffed that you choose to do your little goody two shoes act from a distance, instead of actually residing in the boro' you are supposedly representing. All well and good doing it by mail and e mail, twittering etc, but shoe leather on the streets of Torfaen would be far more appreciated. At least by me. A flying visit to the Inquiry last year, and a once in a lifetime visit to the fringes of the opencast site is not enough to satisfy me, and a lot more in this area, that you are aware of what really is the case. I am well know enough fore you to know where I reside, but just in case it has not yet impacted on you, I live FIFTY metres from the centre of the proposed site, and SUPPORT it, and will; carry on supporting it until it gets Sargent out of the way and approved as it should have been after the Inspectors report said it should so do. varteg1

2:17am Wed 25 Dec 13

county mad says...

Agree entirely with the above another labour rotton borough
Agree entirely with the above another labour rotton borough county mad

2:42pm Thu 26 Dec 13

mrbadguy says...

Its a typical tory blinkered bigotry to brand every young drug user an 'idiot', a catch em and lock em up attitude! I agree with Lynne Neagle, its a fact, young inexperienced people experiment with drugs and just because a drug its branded a legal high doesn't mean it's safe to take or mix with alcohol etc. More needs to be done urgently as lives are at risk!
Its a typical tory blinkered bigotry to brand every young drug user an 'idiot', a catch em and lock em up attitude! I agree with Lynne Neagle, its a fact, young inexperienced people experiment with drugs and just because a drug its branded a legal high doesn't mean it's safe to take or mix with alcohol etc. More needs to be done urgently as lives are at risk! mrbadguy

3:23pm Thu 26 Dec 13

varteg1 says...

mrbadguy wrote:
Its a typical tory blinkered bigotry to brand every young drug user an 'idiot', a catch em and lock em up attitude! I agree with Lynne Neagle, its a fact, young inexperienced people experiment with drugs and just because a drug its branded a legal high doesn't mean it's safe to take or mix with alcohol etc. More needs to be done urgently as lives are at risk!
Lives are at risk? too **** right they are, and unvoluntarily.

**** sight more at risk from malnutrition, hypothermia, failures to meet hospital and doctors by reducing waiting lists. shoddy road maintenance, and much mire that requires urgent attention.

If parents are too thick stupid or uncaring enough to EDUCATE, and DISCIPLINE their offspring about over the dangers of drugs and alcohol abuse, then why should the elected representative do their job for them,, by having police and health services being involved.

Maybe if there was some sort of a move to penalise recalcitrant families who allow, by lack of information and primarily, DISCIPLINE, then maybe there could be value in representatives getting involved. But as most of not all of this abuse is engaged in on a voluntary basis, then keep away.
Leave it to themselves to be either DEAD from their habits, or self curing once they come to their senses and give it all up.

Anything else is just making excuses, and where representatives become involved, I smell another gravy train leaving the platform, as sure as eggs is eggs, you can bet your boots they have someone waiting behind the scenes to fill a new chair of another well funded,... at our expense,... Commission..
BTW, I am not a Tory,..... just a realist.
[quote][p][bold]mrbadguy[/bold] wrote: Its a typical tory blinkered bigotry to brand every young drug user an 'idiot', a catch em and lock em up attitude! I agree with Lynne Neagle, its a fact, young inexperienced people experiment with drugs and just because a drug its branded a legal high doesn't mean it's safe to take or mix with alcohol etc. More needs to be done urgently as lives are at risk![/p][/quote]Lives are at risk? too **** right they are, and unvoluntarily. **** sight more at risk from malnutrition, hypothermia, failures to meet hospital and doctors by reducing waiting lists. shoddy road maintenance, and much mire that requires urgent attention. If parents are too thick stupid or uncaring enough to EDUCATE, and DISCIPLINE their offspring about over the dangers of drugs and alcohol abuse, then why should the elected representative do their job for them,, by having police and health services being involved. Maybe if there was some sort of a move to penalise recalcitrant families who allow, by lack of information and primarily, DISCIPLINE, then maybe there could be value in representatives getting involved. But as most of not all of this abuse is engaged in on a voluntary basis, then keep away. Leave it to themselves to be either DEAD from their habits, or self curing once they come to their senses and give it all up. Anything else is just making excuses, and where representatives become involved, I smell another gravy train leaving the platform, as sure as eggs is eggs, you can bet your boots they have someone waiting behind the scenes to fill a new chair of another well funded,... at our expense,... Commission.. BTW, I am not a Tory,..... just a realist. varteg1

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