Merton Young People Substance Misuse Needs Assessment

Map of Merton

Substance misuse in young people can negatively impact their health and wellbeing can lead to poor concentration or attendance at school, affect peer relationships can be linked to child exploitation (RCPCH, 2020).

In November 2023, Merton Council commissioned Healthy Dialogues to conduct a Young Person’s Substance Misuse Needs Assessment for the borough. The aims of the assessment are to provide information and intelligence to inform the commissioning intentions for substance misuse services for young people in Merton.

The objectives of the needs assessment were:

  • To give a clear overview of the substance use in the borough for residents up to the age of 25.
  • To explore the current services provided in the borough for residents up to the age of 18.
  • To explore the current services provided in the borough for residents 18 to 24 years of age.
  • To highlight the gaps in the borough and report what is needed.

To conduct this needs assessment Healthy Dialogues drew on a variety of data sources including local, regional and national datasets to understand the local picture and map the risk factors for substance misuse. We also engaged with young people across the borough, the staff who work with them in a range of settings and local decision makers. To do this we shared surveys through schools and youth settings, and conducted focus groups and interviews.

Our findings identified areas of need that will inform the London Borough of Merton local drugs strategy delivery plan and commissioning intentions going forward.

“Merton Council commissioned Healthy Dialogues Ltd to conduct a Children and Young Person’s Needs Assessment for Substance Misuse in November 2023.  They worked well with Council staff, Partners and involved Young People in Merton to achieve the outcomes required.  Healthy Dialogues produced a detailed and comprehensive Needs Assessment within the short time frame set at the start of the work which will be used to help shape the recommissioning intentions for this service moving forward.”