WE visited the Dyfed Drug & Alcohol Substance Team (DDAS) on Wednesday (Aug 29) to gain an insight into the work that they do.
DDAS provides advice, information and practical support, such as accessing foodbanks or wellbeing and recovery groups. They provide blood borne virus testing (HIV, Hep B and C), needle exchange, access to substitute medication and can also assist with access to a wide range of other services.
The centre is located on Vaughan Street in the centre of Llanelli town centre. Their presence has attracted complaints from some shop owners and people on social media who relate their concerns in the main to anti social behaviour in Stepney Square or concerns about used needles being found.
When asked about these issues. Caroline Phipps, CEO of Barod said: "DDAS are committed to working with partners and local businesses to ensure there is a co-ordinated response to issues in Llanelli town centre.
"What we have done is be very proactive in working with relevant authorities in order to address some of the issues regarding the town centre."
DDAS celebrated International Overdose Awareness Day yesterday, Friday (Aug 31) by holding commemorative, tree planting services across Dyfed to celebrate the 261 lives saved by Naloxone (a drug DDAS dispenses to clients to reverse the effects of an opiate overdose) and to commemorate those who lost their lives to drug and/or alcohol related deaths.
Service Manager of DDAS Sian Roberts added: "DDAS are keen to reduce stigma associated with substance misuse problems. Addiction does not discriminate and our service is there to offer compassionate, non-judgmental and confidential services to anyone who needs them.
"We would like to encourage anybody who is concerned about theirs or someone else's drug and/or alcohol problem to contact DDAS on 03303 363 9997. Alternatively, anyone can drop-in to our open access service in Llanelli town centre and be seen without an appointment."
There are statistics which shows the impact the service has had in Carmarthenshire
- Needle exchange return rate is on average 105%
- 88% of clients report experiencing positive change as a result of engaging with DDAS as a service
Of the referrals for people concerned about someone else's use, DDAS work with them to encourage their loved ones into treatment. On average, 81% enter treatment as a result of DDAS's work with family members, friends or relatives.
DDAS and partners have trained 1,326 individuals in Naloxone and Overdose First Aid and dispensed 1,231 life saving kits since April 2015