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Tuesday, November 16, 1999 Published at 08:38 GMT

UK: Wales

Drugs czar sees how Wales tackles the problem

Keith Hellawell will meet people dedicated to fighting drug abuse

The Government's drugs czar, Keith Hellawell, is in Cardiff to address specialists in drug and alcohol misuse at an information day.

The speech will be followed by a visit to the Welsh Drug and Alcohol Unit in the city centre, after which Mr Hellawell will see for himself how Cardiff Prison tackles the problem of substance misuse by inmates.

[ image: Keith Hellawell:
Keith Hellawell: "I know we will make a difference"
The Drug and Alcohol Services Information Day at City Hall, attended by representatives of nationwide drug and alcohol services, will be discussing issues relating to service provision.

More than 60 organisations will have exhibition stands and hear presentations from leading speakers in their fields, making this one of the largest events of its kind in Wales.

Mr Hellawell, presenting a UK-wide perspective on drug and alcohol misuse, said: "My visit today is a great opportunity for me to speak directly with experts in the drug and alcohol misuse fields about what the Government's anti-drugs strategy entails, and to let them know how vital their work is to ensuring its success.

"These are complex problems which affect the whole of society, and the Government is determined to enable those people suffering addiction problems to overcome them and live healthy, crime-free lives."

Mr Hellawell was due to have a private meeting with workers at the Welsh Drug and Alcohol Unit to learn from their experiences of dealing with drug and alcohol abuse in Wales.

'Prevention programmes vital'

Speaking about the work of the Unit, Mr Hellawell said: "The development of prevention programmes at both the national and the community level is vital if we are to effectively counter the threat that substance abuse of all kinds poses to our society.

"When I meet people who work with such unstinting dedication, I know that we can and will make a difference."

Mr Hellawell's day in the city will conclude with the visit to Cardiff Prison, where he will discuss details of the Voluntary Testing Unit with staff, including the prison's own full-time anti-drug co-ordinator.

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