Martin Blakeborough of Kaleidoscope is right on the appalling choice made on drugs treatment in Gwent. While Newport still have the services of Kaleidoscope, the rest of Gwent will have untried, unproven scheme that could cause immense problems.
This decision is a triumph of failure over success and theory over practice. Kaleidoscope have transformed drugs treatment in Newport from being one of the least successful in Britain to one of the best. They came here five years ago because several local people witnessed their success in London.
This decision will add to the miseries of victims of drug crimes, and drug addicts and their families.
Before Kaleidoscope came to Newport, our drugs services were dreadful. People died as a direct result of a 17 month waiting list for treatment: drug crime was high. Every knowledgeable fair minded person has congratulated Kaleidoscope on their work. The police have been especially appreciative.
The choice has been made by jobsworths without a record of success. Since 1998 Gwent's DAAT has limped along without direction or vision. Those who made this decision will replicate the problems of the past. I attended one of the first meeting of DAAT in 1998 and suggested they would achieve little but would have lots of meetings and reports. Five years later, I attended another meeting. The sad reality is that there was no improvement in services or drug crime. But they have held lots of meetings and produced reports. Moving bits of paper round helps no one
DAATs were part of the Government ten year strategy - they were an excuse for not thinking. Next year that policy will be assessed. DAATs and DATs will be judged to have failed abjectly.