People dealing with drug and alcohol problems will be able to access a more personalised service to help them get their lives back on track if plans by Sheffield City Council get the go-ahead.
The council’s Drug and Alcohol Coordination Team (DACT) plan to introduce three distinct services for those dealing with problems with opiates (including over the counter and prescription medicines), non-opiates and alcohol. The new look services will mean Sheffield residents with substance misuse problems will be able to access the help they need more easily while a more tailored approach will support them to lead alcohol and drug free lives.
Proposals for the trio of new services have been developed following DACT’s eight week consultation with the public and key stakeholders.
Harry Harpham, Cabinet member for Homes and Neighbourhoods at Sheffield City Council, said:
“Following a review of the original service we asked the public, health officials and our stakeholders how we could run our drug and alcohol services differently in Sheffield. Following that input we hope to create three distinct pathways for people with problems with opiates, non-opiates and alcohol.
The services will continue to promote independence and self-help, support individuals to improve their health and well-being and reduce dependence on these services in the long run.
Streamlining the services also helps us save money on building and infrastructure costs and concentrate on helping the people that matter get their lives back on track.”
Sheffield’s drug and alcohol treatment and recovery services are currently funded by a government grant, with additional contributions from the Council and South Yorkshire Probation Trust.
Investment in drug and alcohol treatment enables individuals to make a sustained recovery.
According to figures from Public Health England, around 2,500 people receive formal structured treatment for alcohol and drug use in Sheffield every year with about 250 completing their treatment successfully and remaining drug free. It is estimated that, among survivors, up to 80 per cent of heroin users are likely to be in remission after three to five years.
Figures from Public Health England also estimate that a typical heroin user spends £1,400 a month on drugs. In comparison, the council will spend an average of £2,000 per year for each individual receiving treatment.
The opiate service is expected to be the most in demand as heroin users tend to require more intensive and long-term treatment. The opiate service will also help people who have problems with over the counter and prescription drugs.
Opiate use is declining with younger people predominantly using non-opiates including cannabis, steroids, powder cocaine, crack and ketamine.
However, in Sheffield few non-opiate users are using the harm reduction and treatment services available to them. The non-opiate service has been designed to be more attractive to non-opiate users, particularly younger adults aged 18 to 30, in the hope this will encourage them to seek help to reduce or stop their use.
The alcohol service will provide guidance to people who drink in a way which is detrimental to their health and safety. Some individuals may not be dependent on alcohol but need help changing their drinking behaviour.
The city’s Cabinet will consider all the proposals at a meeting on Wednesday 15 January.