AN influential health body has launched a radical review to address Inverclyde's disturbing record on alcohol and drugs.

The integrated joint board is pursuing an ambitious revamp of alcohol and drugs support which will bring both together at the Wellpark Centre, with a view to helping more people make a full recovery from addiction.

From next year there will be a seven day service, with a single point of access, plus individual recovery plans and a target to reduce the number of patients going to A&E.

It follows damning figures showing Inverclyde has the worst record in the country for drug abuse, particularly among 15 to 24-year-olds.

Board convenor Councillor Jim Clocherty says change is imperative.

He said: "We have had serious problems for a number of years.

"Bringing all the services together at Wellpark will have a positive impact.

"This is a significant piece of work focusing on recovery.

"We want to make a real difference to the lives of people with alcohol and drugs problems.

"It is one of our top priorities.

"I think everyone sees this as a positive step."

The review follows an earlier phase of work which set out the need for change.

Members of the joint board have examined the problem of dealing with an ageing population of drug addicts, something which has led to an increase in the drug death rate.

Health and social care director Louise Long says there is an urgent need to update services and bring them into line with other areas.

She has set out her goal to move towards an emphasis on recovery rather than maintenance of drug problems.

The new combined alcohol and drugs service will look at how to use third sector services to help individuals.

Health and social care bosses are also planning to revamp the way prevention and education work is carried out.