I WANTED to take this opportunity to provide your readers with more information about the service currently based at Belmont Road, Uxbridge, and what steps we are planning to take to address some of the issues raised by local residents [Families' fury at cynical bid for drug clinic near schools, Gazette, August 20].
The services based at Belmont Road is a day service for Hillingdon and Harrow residents who have received a community order with a requirement to undertake a drug rehabilitation scheme.
The services see a maximum of 15 people a day but on average nine to10 people.
Anyone referred to Belmont Road will have been assessed for their suit-ability to undertake the programme and commitment to tackling their drug use, changing their lifestyle and keeping crime free.
This includes an assessment of their stability and social functioning, and would preclude anyone presenting an unacceptable risk to the public on leaving the service from being accepted.
The service also provides re-training and work placements. Clinical treatments are not undertaken on the site and there is a zero drugs tolerance policy towards anyone bringing drugs on to the site, including prescription drugs.
I also believe it is worth highlighting that the service was previously based at Harrow for just under two years with no reported problems or complaints.
Whilst it was encouraging to hear at our public meeting in August that many local residents do feel that the service is both worthwhile and necessary, we fully acknowledge that we should have engaged more fully with local people prior to the service being moved from Harrow to Belmont Road.
As a result, we have agreed to extend the consultation period until October 10.
We are already actively looking at ways we can address some of the issues that have already been raised, such as the opening times of the service and the fear of dangerous litter.
For example, it is important to point out that the number of injecting drug users in this borough is very low, and that the day programme has worked with less than a handful of such clients over the past year, as such behavior is an indication that the individual's life would be too chaotic for the programme.
The idea of discarded needles in the area is as unacceptable to the service as it is to local residents, and it is something that the service has not experienced and would not tolerate.
Councillor David Yarrow expressed concern that 'drug pushers' will be drawn to the area.
We know from previous experience that the close association with probation and the police mean that any undesirable activities are either stopped or dealt with immediately.
We are also working with local partners in the police and probation services to see what other measures can be taken to address local concerns about pre-existing low level crime and disorder in the immediate area.
joint commissioning manager for drugs and alcohol services,
Hillingdon Primary Care Trust, High Street,