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Many people at some point in their life have to access support or treament for a particular health and or social care issue. Alcohol and substance misuse is no different and many people have to access support to help them deal with the accompanying issues that come along with their use and misuse.  The support and treatment could be physical, emotional or spirirtual and could involve  a range of interventions including detox, maintenance, counselling or support. Knowing where to access approriate support can take some of the distress out of the situation for both the individual and for their family members. Previously health and social care were separate services however more and more integration of the two is becoming the norm.

Having said that there are still many regions and localities where the treatment and support system still work separately, in fact the system could involved access to several dcomponents such as acute, statutory health and social care treatment, third sector provision and mutual aid. However, Lanarkshire is different in that they have a Recovery Orientated System of Care (ROSC) which basically means its a system of care that has been created with the resources to effectively address the full range of substance use problems within communities. It also means that all parts of the system are much more entwined so that each part is available to service users at all stages of their recovery journey – not as the current form of “parallel processing” of clients. This means that anyone accessing support care and treatment will have more options with which to make informed decisions.

A Recovery Orientated System of Care also believes that there are many pathways to recovery with activities which can include providing a list of traditional treatment services and alternative therapies, including peer recovery mentoring, mutual aid, holistic therapies such as acupuncture, meditation and relaxation. While recovery support services can include housing and employment assistance and child care, all of which are aimed at enhancing the engagement of individuals and their families in achieving and sustaining recovery.

Open access services

Advice and information services (sometimes called drop-in services or street agencies) and needle exchanges are both known as open access services. This means that anyone may access them without charge and without needing a referral from another agency. They can provide advice and information about drug and alcohol issues and how to access other services. Many advice and information services can also provide some on-going support and counselling where required.

Structured treatment

Access to structured treatment services (such as detox, rehab and prescribing programmes) often requires a professional referral from another agency. However, local advice and information services are generally well placed to assist clients and families to access these more structured / intensive services - and the helplines listed in this section can also give general advice on this issue. GPs can also often provide similar help and advice, in particular in relation to prescribing interventions (such as methadone), in some areas GPs do offer prescribing services themselves without the need for a specialist referral. In addition, some detox and rehab services can also be directly accessed by those in a position to pay privately.

Self help

Finally, there is a wide range of self help support services throughout the UK. Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon, for example, cater for people with alcohol problems, and their families & friends respectively.Likewise, Narcotics Anonymous is for people with drug problems in general, Cocaine Anonymous is for people with problems with cocaine and Families  Anonymous is aimed at the friends and families of drug users. Each of these is based on the "12-step approach" to understanding and dealing with drug and alcohol problems.

A statutory service is a service that is essential to the running of the country and is therefore provided by the governement. In terms of alcohol and substance related problems a statuatory service is either any NHS service or any provided by the Local Authority. There is a wide range of statuatory services in Lanarkshire aimed specifically at individuals who have substance related problems. Contact details can be found in Local Agencies

The Third Sector can be known by several different names including, the voluntary sector or non-profit sector or not-for-profit sector. The third sector is the range of social services undertaken by organisations that do not make any profit and non-governmental. The first two sectors are the public sector and the private sector. There are a range of third sector agencies within Lanarkshire and their details can be found in Local Agencies

At a simple level, Mutual Aid can be described as people with similar experiences helping each other to manage or overcome pariticular problems; people coming together with their peers building a network of support. Members of the group share their problems, often sharing their suffering/distress; the group is reciprocal where members both offer and receive support as a part of the group.

The groups are organised and facilitated by members where their experiential knowledge is the basis of expertise; no fees are charged, although there are individual member voluntary contributions.

There are many models of Mutual Aid, with varying approaches and set ups for different cohorts of people. The most widespread are the ’12-step’ fellowships of Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Families Anonymous. 

Lanarkshire’s Harm Reduction (HR) Services work to reduce the health, social and economic harms to individuals, communities and society that are associated with substance use. This service provides needle exchanges, advice & counselling on blood borne viruses, and on health/social/welfare problems; blood borne virus immunization; advice and information on overdose prevention/response; safer sex / sexual health and referral to other services.

The Harm Reduction Service will also assess and offer brief interventions to people experiencing problems with cocaine, cannabis, other psychostimulants and performance enhancing drugs (e.g. steroids). For those not ready to contemplate committing to abstinence, the aim would continue to be to reduce risks and help clients to stabilize their lives and their drug use as part of the process of preparing for changes in lifestyle and substance use. There are no time limits nor is there an assumption that the recovery journey will be the same for all users.

SMART Recovery is based on scientific knowledge, and is intended to evolve as scientific knowledge evolves. The program uses principles of motivational interviewing found in Motivational Enhancement Therapy and techniques taken from Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.

The organization's program emphasizes four areas (called the 4-Point Program) in the process of recovery: Building Motivation; Coping with Urges; Problem Solving, and Lifestyle Balance. The "SMART Toolbox" is a collection of various methods or tools which address the 4 points. The program does not use the twelve steps which make up the basis of the various "Anonymous" self-help groups (e.g. AA, NA, etc.) and is generally listed as an alternative to the Twelve Steps Recovery.