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Latest news

14 July 2009
An exciting date in September - a seminar in Aberystwyth on the Christian response to addiction

Wynford Ellis Owen is to speak at "Rhyddhau'r Caethon" a Seminar in Aberystwyth on the Christian response to addiction on September 29 at the Morlan Centre. Link to the Union of Wlesh Independents website.

13 July 2009
Ruining the Urdd Eisteddfod's good name.

The Urdd’s decision to sell alcohol on the Urdd Eisteddfod field has been roundly condemned by The Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs.  Wynford Ellis Owen, the Charity’s Chief Executive, said it was a “disgrace” that the Urdd (The Welsh League of Youth) considered selling alcohol on the field.  “I shuddered on hearing the news” he said, “At a time when 12 million of Britain’s people drink to dangerous levels – with the problem being worse in Wales, where it is estimated that more than a quarter of Welsh young people between the ages of 11 and 15 use more alcohol than young people in any other country in Europe within the same age range – the decision is not only insane but irresponsible”. 

He added that the Urdd Council, which voted nearly unanimously for the change, had “ruined the Eisteddfod’s good name and is sending out a clear message to all the children and young people of Wales, that we can’t even host Eisteddfod Yr Urdd without alcohol being part of it”.

“This is the result of the normalising that happens in our society with our relationship with alcohol” he said, “It is now ‘abnormal’ not to have alcohol as part of every activity.  It is sad to think that the members of the Urdd’s Council – many of them deacons and leading members of Churches – have given in to such pressure.

Wynford added, “I hope that parents, and leaders and responsible members of our Society and our Churches will call on the Eisteddfod Council to change its mind on this incredible decision to allow the selling of alcohol on the Eisteddfod field”

Wynford Ellis Owen has made an application through Efa Gruffudd Jones, the Urdd’s Chief Executive, to attend the next meeting of the Urdd Council, “My hope” he said, “is that the members will be wise and brave enough on hearing the facts and the latest scientific evidence, to change their minds.  I’m confident” he said, “we can achieve this and restore the Urdd’s credibility”. 

07 July 2009
Our Chief Executive speaks to young people at St Clares

Hundreds of Independent members in Carmarthenshire have voted unanimously to ask the Urdd to reconsider allowing alcohol to be sold at its Eisteddfod. The congregation of around 300 people at the Sul Sbesial festival at St Clears unanimously supported the call made by youth members, who had just heard Wynford Ellis Owen – chief executive of the Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs – describe the Urdd’s action as "totally irresponsible." Members were reminded that alcohol abuse amongst young people in Wales is worse than in any other country in Europe.

16 June 2009
Dr David Best loved the treatment community enough to tell them the truth.

Annual lecture

The Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs’ Inaugural Annual Lecture at the Senedd, the Welsh Assembly building in Cardiff Bay last night, was delivered by Dr David Best from the University of the West of Scotland under the title – ‘Evidence of hope: what do we know about sustained recovery from alcohol and drug addiction?’.


Annual lecture
Annual lecture

This Inaugural Annual Lecture sees the implementation of one important initiative from the Welsh Council’s 3 Years Strategy: ‘working in partnership with other organizations to promote greater awareness of the dangers of substance misuse’. The lecture was held in association with the three registered treatment centres in Wales: Brynawel House (South Wales), CAIS (North Wales) and Rhoserchan (Mid Wales) – each has a different philosophy regarding the treatment of substance misuse – but united to co-sponsor this important event ‘for the common goal’ of helping sufferers all over Wales. read more

For a copy of the Annual Lecture Programme, along with the text click here

11 June 2009
Three frogs floating down a river....

Remember the three frogs floating on a piece of wood down the river? One made a decision to jump into the water. How many frogs were left on the piece of wood? Three, of course. The frog just made a decision to jump into the water – he didn’t carry it through. click here

11 June 2009
“Recovery should also be a goal, not simply harm reduction”

The inaugural annual Welsh Council on Alcohol and other Drugs lecture will be delivered by Dr David Best, Reader in Criminal Justice at the University of the West of Scotland at the Senedd, Cardiff Bay on Tuesday, 16th June at 6.30pm. The lecture, held in association with the three registered treatment centres in Wales Brynawel House (South Wales), CAIS (North Wales) and Rhoserchan (Mid Wales), will be hosted by Gareth Jones OBE, AM.

The lecture, Evidence of Hope: What do we know about sustained recovery from alcohol and drug addiction?, chaired by Wynford Ellis Owen, Chief Executive of the Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs, will be the first time the Council and the three registered treatment centres in Wales will have worked together in partnership to tackle the wider debate on a number of different approaches to addiction therapy.

Dr David Best, in addition to his academic work in Scotland, is also involved in work for the Home Office in London, the Scottish Government, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Abuse and local recovery initiatives in Glasgow and Lanarkshire. A Chartered Psychologist and a member of the British Criminology Society, he spent ten years working in research at the National Addiction Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, managing a range of applied studies of drug and alcohol treatment interventions to prevent drug-related deaths and drug crime studies. He has also worked with the Police Complaints Authority, the National Treatment Agency and the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit.

Wynford Ellis Owen, Chief Executive of the Welsh Council on Alcohol and other Drugs, said, “There are of course a number of different approaches and philosophies on tackling addiction but it is great to see all three treatment centres working together formally for the first time for the benefit of Welsh clients. It is not an easy debate but one which Wales needs to have and I am very grateful to Dr David Best for agreeing to deliver our inaugural lecture as it is an important objective for us to deliver as part of our current three-year strategy”.

Dr David Best, said, “I am looking forward to speaking in Cardiff as my current areas of research interest are around recovery journeys from addiction, the relationship between drug use and crime and the role of organisational functioning in influencing treatment effectiveness are all highly relevant. I know a great deal of emphasis is put on harm reduction policies but I do believe that we should also be talking about sustained recovery in the same sentence.”

Lynn Bennoch, Lead Director, CAIS, on behalf of the three registered providers, added, “CAIS has 12 years experience of providing Detox services, and 18 years of providing rehabilitation services, Brynawel House has 32 years experience of providing rehabilitation services and Rhoserchan 21 years  - therefore in total we have 83 years of experience!

“We are currently looking at ways of working towards providing the ‘best practice’ and a more holistic approach to the treatment of drug and alcohol clients that will take into account the different approaches on tackling addiction.  The collaboration between the three registered treatment providers will seek to address a more flexible and systematic approach to the residential treatment of those seeking help with their dependency.”

Gareth Jones AM, said, “Gareth Jones AM, said, “"I am delighted to be able to sponsor this important event in the Senedd and pleased that the inaugural lecture of the Welsh Council on Alcohol and other Drugs has attracted a renowned expert and a speaker of such high calibre as Dr David Best. The issues surrounding the debate on addiction, treatment and crime are sometimes complex and difficult but nevertheless we ought not to shirk our responsibility to openly discuss the potential solutions.

"I am mindful of the heavy toll of drug and alcohol addiction on individuals, families and society as a whole and we owe it to ourselves to try to get the right messages over even if that means for example challenging some commercial interests. I look forward to a renewed debate and a greater co-ordination of our efforts and resources in this important field."


01 May 2009
Inaugural annual lecture : Evidence of hope: What do we know about sustained recovery from Alcohol and drug addiction?

The lecture, on 16th June 2009, is to be delivered by DR DAVID BEST (Senior lecturer in Addiction in the Department of Psychiatry at Birmingham University)

The event is hosted by Gareth Jones OBE, AM and is held in association with the 3 registered treatment centres: Bryn Awel House (South Wales); CAIS (North Wales); and Rhoserchan (Mid Wales). Download invite


01 May 2009
NDSAG 2011 conference comes to Cardiff
We have just received confirmation that the New Direction in the Study of Alcohol Group (NDSAG) will be holding their 2011 conference here in Cardiff. This important conference will be hosted on behalf of the council by Wynford Ellis Owen, our chief executive. You can access more information about the NDSAG by clicking on this link: www.newdirections.org.uk


01 May 2009
Cartoon competition!
No joke, tackling Welsh youth addiction issues through cartoons

The Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs has launching a unique cartoon competition, aimed at raising awareness amongst young people in Wales of the dangers of alcohol and drugs misuse.

Designed by cartoonist Cen Williams, the four separate cartoons, originated in partnership with young people from the chapels of Bethlehem, Gwaelod-y- Garth and Tabernacl, Efail Isaf, show a number of blank ‘what happened next?’ scenarios involving the effects of excess alcohol and other drugs.

The competition, open until 31st August 2009 and split into three age groups (under 11’s, 11-18 and 18+), invites young people to insert their own end scenarios in cartoon form. Prizes include bikes, flights and tickets for shows. The cartoons can be downloaded from the Council’s website at www.welshcouncil.org.uk/cartoons.

Wynford Ellis Owen, Chief Executive, Welsh Council on Alcohol and other Drugs, said, “The prevalence of increasing addiction problems amongst young people in Wales makes scary reading. However, preaching and shouting orders is no way to tackle the problem, especially with teenagers!

“We wanted to engage in a fun way with young people across Wales and this cartoon competition is one way of doing this. We hope by being encouraged to sit down to draw and be creative that it will help make the issues hit home and perhaps make them think twice before consuming alcohol in excess or taking drugs. We also aim to showcase some of the best completed cartoons on our website’s homepage as inspiration for others.”

Download competition cartoon strip 1
Download competition cartoon strip 2
Download competition cartoon strip 3
Download competition cartoon strip 4


01 May 2009
The kind of giving that has no price-tag on it: the giving of oneself to someone…

The Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs has started on the work of establishing a day-care treatment centre in Cardiff that offers free, bilingual treatment for anyone experiencing difficulties relating to alcohol, drugs (prescribed or illicit), or any other dependency. Once the centre – 'Stafell Fyw Caerdydd / Living Room Cardiff – is established in 2011, we will be extending the service to other towns all over Wales. Would you like to support The Living Room?

Is there a family anywhere in Wales today that hasn’t, in some way, been affected by the misuse of alcohol and/or other drugs?

As a matter of information, the year 2010 will be a year for raising awareness about the new centre as well as being a concerted fund-raising year for this new charity. Are you willing to help us establish this new centre in Cardiff and come up with creative ideas to help us raise money? 'Stafell Fyw Caerdydd / Living Room Cardiff will be a wonderful example of practical Christianity at work in modern Wales.

Wynford Ellis Owen, Chief Executive of the Welsh Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs, is eager to come to your church to speak about this new, exciting venture. Please contact the Council directly on 029 2049 3895 or by e-mail at info@welshcouncil.org.uk

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