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Government of

Information and public services for the Island of Jersey

L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

Substance use strategy 2023 to 2033

Substance use

Substance use refers to the use of any drug which affects the brain, body or both. The same substance can affect people differently, and some substances are more harmful than others. 

Not everyone who uses substances will develop a dependency and potential harms can arise at any time. Some may find that their substance use: 

  • interferes with daily life
  • contributes to physical or mental health problems  
  • puts them at risk of long-term issues in the future 

Wider harms can include problems for schools, families, and communities around the Island. 

Substance use is a complex problem in which our community plays a strong role. To help those who use substances we need to change how we see and respond to substance use as an Island. 

The Substance use strategy

The strategy sets out what we will do over the next 10 years. 

A Change of Direction: A Substance Use Strategy for Jersey

It covers:

  • alcohol, the substance most used by islanders 
  • psychoactive drugs, which are often called recreational or illegal drugs. This includes novel psychoactive substances or legal highs
  • medicines when used in ways they are not intended
  • performance and image enhancing drugs, which includes steroids, supplements, and similar substances

The strategy was developed by the Public Health Directorate using a health and social approach to substance use. This work includes understanding local needs through data and engagement with stakeholders. Stakeholders included Government of Jersey departments, support services, and people with lived experience.

5 strategic aims

The 5 aims of the strategy are to: 

  1. delay the onset of use while preventing problematic use
  2. reduce the harm to individuals, families, and our Island
  3. ensure Islanders have access to support covering the spectrum of substance use
  4. improve wider health and wellbeing
  5. continue progress towards a sustainable health and social based approach

Within each aim are several more specific objectives. Aims and objectives will be evaluated and monitored to ensure progress and success.

Our sustainable health and social approach

The strategy was developed using a health and social approach, which will guide how we respond to substance use over the next 10 years. These types of approaches address the health and social harms as a main priority. 

Our own health and social approach has been based on international recommendations, evidence of what works, and our own local needs. The key principles are:

  1. considering multiple substances and viewing substance use as a spectrum
  2. using a broad public health and population health prevention approach
  3. working and responding collaboratively across Government of Jersey and the third sector, including through 2 new multi-agency groups 
  4. respecting human rights, including the right to highest attainable health
  5. respecting ethical principles including consent, confidentiality and equity of access
  6. promoting service user and peer involvement in design and delivery
  7. based on an assessment of need, with responses tailored to specific groups in most need
  8. responding to cultural and social characteristics of islanders
  9. responses to be properly designed, based on evidence, monitored and evaluated
  10. ensuring sustainability, inclusive of wellbeing, ongoing improvement and public good

Further information

Work around medicinal cannabis remains ongoing and  updates will be published in due course. 

To learn more about the Population Health Prevention Strategy, visit Population Health Prevention Strategy 2023 to 2027.

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