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'We wouldn't live anywhere else'.

Byline: By COLIN HUGHES Western Mail

It is officially the sickest place in Britain, with two in every five people in Croeserw, in the Afan Valley, suffering a long-term illness. Colin Hughes spent the day there to discover what life is really like in Croeserw: Addiction caused by unemployment:Neath Port Talbot's Afan Valley is considered to be one of the most beautiful parts of Wales. But in recent years local communities have been fighting rising crime and addiction caused by high unemployment following the demise of the coal industry 30 years ago.

Problems became so bad in the Valley that villagers pressed the local authority and the police to introduce and enforce public drinking bans after complaints of intimidation.

A new organisation called Hand, which stands for Hold it! Afan Valley says No to Drugs, got off the ground by distributing leaflets to every household appealing to those who use alcohol or drugs to seek immediate help.

Money from the National Assembly is being used to find out what sort of services and facilities local people really want and to launch an action plan to achieve them.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 24, 2004
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