TOWN'S NEW DRUG CENTRE ON COURSE FOR APRIL OPENING
December 08, 2004
A one-stop advice and counselling service will be set up in the heart of the town to stop Bracknell from falling prey to the higher levels of alcoholics and drug users that neighbouring Reading and Slough are faced with.
Police estimate that there are around 75 ‘problem drug users’ in the borough who fund addiction through crime.
Members of the council’s drug and alcohol action team had been keeping their fingers crossed for the past few weeks after a planning application for the centre was put forward after two years of research and work.
The application was approved last Thursday, meaning building work at the disused office in The Broadway will start in the next few weeks with the aim of opening the counselling and advice centre in early April.
Daphne Obang, director of social services at the council, said: “We’re extremely pleased the application for the new advice centre for the drugs and alcohol action team has succeeded.
“The project has been some time in preparation so it is pleasing that it can now proceed.
“Following building work it is expected to open in April 2005. It is a very positive step to have another accessible local point for people who have substance misuse problems to seek guidance.
“The new centre will be a great benefit to Bracknell in preventing the town’s low-level use of substances from escalating and will provide excellent information services.”
When the centre is up and running a total of eight staff are expected to help both drug users and alcoholics as well as friends and family of users to access information and provide help more easily.
A crime and drug audit earlier this year suggested that the use of crack cocaine and heroin in Bracknell Forest was ‘slightly higher’ than Windsor and Maidenhead but lower than levels encountered in Slough or Reading.
It shows cannabis is the most common drug being used, with heroin the most widely used of the class A drugs.
The report also suggests there is a limited opportunity to buy drugs in Bracknell, with most known users travelling to Reading or Slough.
Police seizures of heroin and cocaine have fallen in the last year, but the amount of crack cocaine, cannabis and ecstasy is on the increase.
The new centre will help encourage drug addicts and alcoholics kick the habit and stop the problem from taking hold of Bracknell in the same way it has in neighbouring towns.
Jillian Hunt from the drugs and alcohol action team said: “At present substance misuse services are provided from several locations both within this borough and in Slough and Reading.
“This centre gives us the chance to bring these services under one roof.
“Bracknell Forest does not have the large substance misuse problems that are evident in both Reading and Slough and we aim to keep it that way.”