Faculty of Addictions

Chair: Dr Faye Graver

Our Faculty is concerned with the assessment and treatment of people with complex medical and social needs arising out of addictions or addictive behaviour (this may include gambling).

You can find our recent consultations responses.


The Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales welcomes the decision of the National Assembly to implement the Public Health (Minimum Unit Price for Alcohol) (Wales) Bill.

The aim of this important piece of public health policy is to reduce, in particular, the consumption of harmful and hazardous drinking. Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) of alcohol will not affect moderate drinkers but will have a significant impact on reducing alcohol related deaths, hospital admissions, and will result in fewer crimes.*

Chair of the Faculty of Addictions Psychiatry in Wales, Dr Ranjini Rao said:

“The College has been fully supportive of this measure and has gratefully given evidence at every possible stage of inquiry. Our members across Wales see the harmful impact of low cost alcohol daily in their clinical practice, not just on drinkers, but on their families.

"Alcohol can affects the health of individuals and those around them and often hitting those hardest in deprived and poor communities.

"We believe this will go a long way to addressing the concerns around problem drinking and youth drinking, and this is supported by robust evidence.

"This is a progressive drug and alcohol policy, we should applaud the Welsh Government for this action.

I look forward to the implementation of this legislation which will save lives and improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Wales.”

June 2018

* RCPsych in Wales evidence submission to Welsh Government consultation

A Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales comment on the ‘Gambling with our Health' Report from the Chief Medical Officer

The Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales welcomes the report from Dr Frank Atherton, Chief Medical Officer for Wales and is encouraged by its recommendations.

In Wales it is reported, 61% of adults (around 1.5 million people) have gambled in the last 12 months. 63% of men and 59% of women report gambling participation in the past 12 months*

In Wales, 1.1% of the population (30,000 people) self-reported as having a problem with gambling, using either the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of American Psychiatric Association (DSM-IV). A further 3.8% of people in Wales are estimated to be at risk of problem gambling. The problem gambling rate for men is 1.9%, and the rate for women is 0.2%*

Chair of the Faculty of Addictions, Dr Ranjini Rao expressed:

"The Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales welcomes this report from the Chief Medical Officer and is encouraged by the recognition of gambling as an emerging public health issue. It’s also so important that we look to reduce stigma around gambling so that more people who require help come forward."

"The College are committed to working with partners in Wales to reflect on international best practice, influence treatment options and develop greater harmony with the NHS’ strategy to tackle addictive behaviour."

"We are keen to hear Welsh Governments response to the report recommendations and would see Psychiatry as playing an essential role in shaping delivery and design of addiction related services".

Feb 2018

* Gambling Commission, 2016. Participation in gambling and rates of problem gambling – Wales 2015.


Figures released today (18 Sep) from Public Health Wales' Harm Reduction Database Wales: Drug related mortality, Annual Report 2018-19 show that drug-related deaths in Wales are at their highest levels on record.

The number of people dying from drug poisoning has increased by 78% in just 10 years, while there has also been a rise in deaths of younger people from substances such as cocaine and MDMA.

Drug misuse deaths, a subset of drug poisoning deaths, increased by 12% from 185 deaths in 2017 to 208 in 2018, with Wales having the second highest rates of drug misuse deaths in England and Wales regions.

Deaths were more than four times more likely to occur in the most deprived areas of Wales compared to the least deprived.

The report noted a rise in deaths involving cocaine, amphetamine and MDMA tended to involve younger people in their 20s.

A third of all drug deaths reviewed saw "no known contact" between those that died and any local health, social care or criminal justice service in the 12 months beforehand.

The health agency's report makes a number of recommendations to tackle the increase, including protecting drug users from prosecution when seeking medical attention, and reclassifying heroin substitute Take-Home Naloxone as an over-the-counter medication.

Josie Smith, Head of Substance Misuse at Public Health Wales, said the increasing availability of drugs was causing the rise in drug deaths, and warned the trend was set to continue.

She added: "Given the scale of problem drug use in Wales, it is likely that every member of the population will know someone affected by, or experiencing difficulties with drugs be they illegal or prescribed, but may be unaware.

"Evidence is clear that seeking support early on can prevent escalation of problem use and dependency, however, fear of stigmatisation and social exclusion may be barriers to this. Consideration needs to be given to how this can be overcome in Wales to prevent future tragic deaths."

Professor Keith Lloyd, chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales said:

“With the number of people dying from drug poisoning increasing by 78 per cent in just 10 years, we are now at crisis point and this should serve as a wake-up call to the government.

“Years of austerity, shortages in professional skilled staff and underinvestment in addiction services mean people living with multiple needs cannot be helped properly.

 “The top priority should be to get more people into effective treatment and ensure health services can keep up with demand.

“We should be targeting young people and local communities, especially with hard to reach groups such as the homeless population.

“We need action on this issue before the problem spirals out of control and destroys more lives.”

Recent Events

On 27 June 2019, we were delighted to get involved in the first youth forum event of its kind in the UK.

Young people from across Wales met to discuss problem gambling.

The event, held at the Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay, was organised by a number of stakeholders including the Living Room, Beat the Odds and the University of South Wales aimed to reach out to 13 and 15 year olds on the dangers of gambling including how young people are often exposed to a number of promotions in the mass media, without even knowing it.

Organisers of the event the Living Room, Beat the Odds Initiative, Royal College of Psychiatrists Wales and the University of South Wales are already part of The National Assembly’s Cross-Party Group on problem gambling.

Here's a summary of the event.


Dr's Raman Sakhuja and Julia Lewis presented in a seminar in Cardiff on issues of Alcohol Related Brain Damage. The College has the intention to work with the Welsh Government to increase the knowledge of Alcohol related Brain Damage and its prevention and management in Wales. The presentations are listed below:

Alcohol related brain damage - Dr Raman Sakhuja

Alcohol related brain damage, prevention - Dr Julia Lewis

Alcohol related brain damage, assessment, diagnosis and MCA- Dr Julia Lewis

Alcohol and Gambling: Investigating parallels and shared solutions

Gambling field must learn from alcohol research states a new joint report from the RCPsych in Wales and Alcohol Concern Cymru.

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