TEENAGERS in north east Fife affected by drink and drug problems will still be able to access help despite the loss of a pioneering street referral service due to funding cuts.
That’s the assurance from Fife’s Alcohol and Drug Partnership following last weekend’s closure of the service, which has been run for the past four years by the Leven-based Drugs and Alcohol Project (DAPL) in conjunction with Fife Police.
Chief Superintendent Alistair McKeen, who represents Fife Constabulary on the board of Fife’s Alcohol and Drug Partnership, said this week that he was confident that any person under 18 coming to the attention of the police as a result of alcohol or drug-related problems would be dealt with in the ‘most appropriate’ way.
He said that officers engaging with young people under the influence of alcohol or drugs had the option to refer them to the multi-agency Youth Offender Management Group, where they could access a range of services.
He explained that the group’s early intervention approach has had a major impact on youth offending and referrals to the Children’s Reporter since its inception in 2007.
As well as statutory agencies and voluntary organisations such as SACRO and Plus One, the YMCA’s peer monitoring project also attend the group, and the various agencies receive core funding to work with young people at risk from Fife Council’s social work service.
Chief Superintendent McKeen said: “The hallmark of this group’s work is the speed with which individual cases are reviewed, and appropriate support provided to young people.
“This group has spearheaded reductions of over 60 per cent in repeat offending amongst young people through tackling underlying reasons such as problems at home or relating to alcohol or drug abuse.”
Meanwhile a triage assessment for adults run by DAPL has also been wound up and at least 20 more of the agency’s staff expect to be served with redundancy notices this month.
Six have already lost their jobs as fears grow for the future of DAPL as a result of changes in the grants funding process.
Its fate is likely to be sealed on August 25, when members of Fife Council’s health and social care partnership are expected to rubber-stamp a recommendation by Fife Alcohol and Drug Partnership that some £1 million of funding is switched to national agencies such as Addaction and Barnardos.