Merton gives the drug dependent a helping hand

Safer Merton – a partnership between the council, police, Primary Care Trust and other agencies – will be taking on the drug dealers and offering vital help to the people who misuse substances and drugs as part of National Tackling Drugs Week, which kicks off on Monday 8 June.

Police will be executing drug warrants across the borough while officers will also visit local schools and talk to pupils about the dangers of drug dependency.

Merton Council’s Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT) works throughout the year helping those who misuse drugs to get the treatment they need while police safer neighbourhood teams make sure residents’ concerns about drug dealing are reported and acted on quickly. National Tackling Drugs Week gives all agencies involved in targeting drugs and drug abuse the chance to publicise their work and tell users about the support available.

This year Safer Merton will be at the council’s civic centre and Sainsbury’s in Morden all week to raise awareness of key issues in tackling drug problems, with drug workers on hand to offer advice and details of support programmes running in the borough.

Other events include a football tournament for young people on Monday 8 June run by Kickz, and supported by Fulham FC, where police and the youth awareness programme will talk about the reclassification of cannabis. Wandle Housing chief executive Sara Thakkar will be at the tournament, which has been arranged by Wandle Housing Association and will be hosted by the YMCA Wimbledon. Merton Action Single Homeless and Grenfell Foyer have also been involved in the event.

Merton Mayor Councillor Nick Draper will be at an open day explaining the different programmes offered by MACS (Merton Adult Crack Service).

Sainsbury’s deputy store manager Kris Martin said: “Our store is at the heart of the local community and it is essential that we do as much as we can to support it. When we heard about National Tackling Drugs week we felt it was important for us to get involved and raise awareness.

“We operate a Think – 21 policy in our stores and believe this is a great start to help tackle the issues within our community.”

Superintendent Graeme Thomson said: “Drug abuse causes misery for the victims, their families and their neighbours. We are determined to stop the dealers and producers and help those who misuse drugs tackle their dependency.”

Merton Council cabinet member for community safety and engagement Councillor Henry Nelless said: ‘Merton is one of the safest boroughs in London but drug dealing and drug dependency are still issues we must tackle”.

“We are committed to putting all our residents’ needs first and we are working with the police and drug dependency agencies to both stop the dealers and support the users change behaviours and habits – whether they have been affected directly or indirectly. Helping those who misuse drugs to come off them for good and make a valuable contribution to society is vital in ensuring the safety and quality of life of everyone living in the borough.”

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Notes:

– The football event is on Monday 8 June from 5pm-9.30pm at the YMCA in Wimbledon
– Safer Merton teams will be present in Sainsbury’s Morden from 11-2pm everyday from Monday 8 June – Friday 12 June and at the council’s civic centre in Morden everyday from 10am – 4pm
– MACS (Merton Adult Crack Service) is confidential, free and open to all Merton residents and their families affected by substance misuse. The project is self-referring and clients are offered a series of interventions and support