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‘Severe’ cuts spell the end for CADSS service

CADSS' Lerwick premises, nestled behind the Faerdie Maet (Solotti's) cafe on Commercial Street. Photo: Shetnews

A MUCH valued service for those affected by alcohol and other drug problems is being wound up with immediate effect after falling victim to crippling funding cuts.

CADSS (Community Alcohol and Drugs Support Service) announced on Wednesday that it was regrettably shutting up shop after 25 years.

The service, based on Lerwick’s Commercial Street, has been providing education and support to young people affected by misuse of drugs for quarter of a century.

Adult service users previously given support by CADSS will instead be able to access an NHS Shetland-run substance misuse recovery service.

CADSS was formed in October 2007 following the merger of separate alcohol and drugs services which have been running since the early 1990s. It functioned as a volunteer-run charity supported by grants and public donations.

Efforts have been made in the past 12 months to find a way of maintaining the service amid government cuts to funding for substance abuse.

CADSS board chairwoman Jacqui Diamond said: “The board has not taken this decision lightly. We have been working closely over the past few months with Shetland Islands Council and NHS Shetland to look at ways to find a long-term sustainable position for CADSS, but unfortunately that has proved to be impossible.”

She said that as part of the redesign of substance misuse services, CADSS had suffered “severe” budget cuts over the last two years.

In 2015/16 it lost 57 per cent of its funding and was facing a further 68 per cent cut in 2016/17.

“As a result we have exhausted our reserves,” she said. “Over the past 15 months we have made significant efforts to source external funding to make up our budget shortfall.

“However our lack of success in obtaining the necessary additional external funding has made us realise that in today’s very competitive climate this is unlikely to happen, and as a result we have no option but to cease providing services.”

SIC councillor Cecil Smith, who chairs the SIC/NHS Shetland “integration joint board”, said: “This is obviously very disappointing news, as CADSS has provided a valuable service to our community for many years.

“I can, however, reassure service users and their families that they will continue to be supported.

“The substance misuse recovery service (SMRS) will continue to provide the open access drop-in and needle exchange and informal support for anyone struggling with alcohol and drug-related issues. The SMRS will also arrange for services to young people to continue.”

Smith added that anyone with concerns could contact the substance misuse service on (01595) 743675 or 743006.