Nottinghamshire Insight

Substance Use (drugs and alcohol)

Substance use refers to people regularly using large amounts of, or becoming dependent on, drugs and/or alcohol. It includes the use of both legal and illegal drugs. Anyone could be at risk of becoming dependent on drugs or alcohol during their lives. One of the most common causes is experience of trauma, especially in childhood. Some people use drugs or alcohol as a way to help them cope with this trauma, but then find it hard to stop.

Substance use can lead to many different health and social issues and has enormous health and social care financial costs.  It is often linked with poor physical and mental health. The avoidable and unfair differences in health between different groups of people are called health inequalities. We know that people who are dependent on drugs and/or alcohol are often more affected by health inequalities.

Drug and alcohol dependency can be linked with problems with education, training, work and housing.  It is also sometimes linked with anti-social behaviour and crime that negatively affects individuals, families and communities.

Our Vision

Nottinghamshire County Council’s vision is to prevent and reduce substance use and related problems through working with other organisations and using the best available evidence of what works. Through this, we want to improve the quality of life for people who live, work and visit Nottinghamshire and reduce health inequalities.

From Harm to Hope

In December 2021 the Government published a national drug strategy, ‘from harm to hope’. The strategy has three priorities:

  1. Reducing the supply of drugs
  2. Improving the quality of drug and alcohol treatment services and increasing the number of people they can support
  3. Preventing people from becoming dependent on drugs and alcohol.

Nottinghamshire County Council has added a fourth priority which focuses on the lived/living experiences of people who use drugs and alcohol. We have also created a local Partnership – the Nottinghamshire Drugs and Alcohol Partnership (previously called the Nottinghamshire Combatting Substance Misuse Partnership, until the named changed in November 2023) - which brings together lots of different services including Nottinghamshire Police, the NHS and Change Grow Live. The Partnership was approved as an outside body at the July 2022 Cabinet meeting.

The Nottinghamshire Drugs and Alcohol Partnership has an obligation under the From Harm to Hope Strategy to develop its own local strategy and plan. Our Nottinghamshire Strategy and action plan for 2023-2025 was approved at the March 2023 Cabinet meeting. The plan sets out things the Partnership will do to achieve their four priorities.

The first annual report of the national drug strategy was published in July 2023 and detailed the progress from the first year of delivery, one year into the government’s 10 year plan. Locally, we also wanted to celebrate our successes for 2022/23 and have produced the following infographic.

Below you can find a range of national and local information relating to drug and alcohol use:

JSNA Chapters:

Local Info:

  National Documents: