Police scheme aims to tackle drug misuse

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Local police have launched a new scheme which aims to educate offenders about the harmful effects of drugs.

When issuing a Community Resolution Notice (CRN) the police will now have the option to require the first time offender, aged 18 and over, to attend an education session provided by local service provider, ASCERT, who specialise in tackling substance misuse.

Inspector Philip Robinson, outlined the details of the initiative: “This is a six month pilot being run across Lisburn and Castlereagh Policing District and Ards and North Down Policing District with ASCERT, beginning in June this year.

“The project looks to address drug misuse which continues to be a priority for the PSNI. Year on year (2016, 2017, 2018), we have seen an increase in the number of Community Resolution Notices (CRNs) issued for drugs offences in the two Policing districts, with over 400 issued to people aged 18 and over during 2016, 2017, 2018 for first time drug offences.

“While the CRN enforces the law regarding drugs and offers a useful method of resolution, this education course aims to address drug related issues supporting people in positive change.

“This is a two hour education and harm reduction session run by ASCERT in a neutral venue. This session will look at values and attitudes towards drugs, the Cycle of Change, and provide a safe space for effective discussion with an opportunity to reflect on their drug use, possible consequences, which should provide a wake-up call and also provide a gateway service for any further referrals required in relation to their drug use.”