Alcohol and Drug Services

The impact of alcohol and substance misuse in Scotland is widespread and has a significant impact on the health and well-being of individuals, their family members and local communities (Scottish Government 2008). Lanarkshire is no exception. A range of National strategies have been published to address the problems and many local strategies have been introduced which seek to limit the damage caused by alcohol and substance misuse within our communities in Lanarkshire.

It’s nine years since the publication of the Road to Recovery strategy (2008) and Changing Scotland’s Relationship with Alcohol: A Framework for Action (March.2009). A number of crucial aspects to these strategies have received unanimous cross party backing which is welcomed by all agencies and service providers.

Recovery is an approach that implies “shifting care from a passive model to one regarding those being helped as active participants with services facilitating their recovery” (SACDM 2008, p.10). The aim, is to empower service users to assume more responsibility for themselves and work with providers and others (e.g. family and friends) to make plans for reaching these goals.

Recovery can mean different things at different times to different people, its concept recognises the role of a wide range of social factors, including, children / family relationships, employability, housing, deprivation and on developing personal strength and resilience. It also recognises the value of investing in local communities to develop social capital and community enablement.

Lanarkshire's Alcohol and Drug Partnership Recovery Strategy (2010-2014), in implementing a recovery-focused system, sets out  the intention to provide clients with services that offer:

  • hope
  • choice
  • empowerment
  • viable treatment and life options

This is the philosophy at the heart of all Liber8’s work, as we continue to provide the many community based interventions and services across Lanarkshire to help individuals and families break free from the chains of addiction and move forward in their recovery journey.

Many people at some point in their life have to access support or treatment 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; this could be physical, emotional or spiritual support and could involve a range of interventions including detox, maintenance, counselling or support. Knowing where to access appropriate support can take some of the distress out of the situation for both the individual and for their family members.

Recovery Orientated System of Care (ROSC)

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 involve access to several components such as acute, statutory health and social care treatment, third sector provision and mutual aid. However, Lanarkshire is different in that they promote a Recovery Orientated System of Care (ROSC) which basically 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 often termed parallel processing of clients.  The common definition of a Recovery Orientated System of Care  is

A coordinated network of community-based services and supports that is person-centred and builds on the strengths and resiliencies of individuals, families, and communities to achieve recovery and improved health, wellness, and quality of life for those with or at risk of alcohol and drug problems.

By design, a ROSC provides individuals and families with more options with which to make informed decisions regarding their care. Services are designed to be accessible, welcoming, and easy to navigate. A fundamental value of a ROSC is the involvement of people in recovery, their families, and the community to continually improve access to and quality of services. It supports the principle that there are many pathways to recovery, with activities including, providing a menu of traditional treatment services and alternative therapies such as support and counselling, peer recovery and meditation. Recovery support services, include help with employment, housing support and financial budgeting assistance; all designed to enhance the engagement of individuals and their families in achieving and sustaining recovery

Lanarkshire's Alcohol and Drug Partnership Recovery Strategy (2010-2014), in implementing a recovery-focused system, sets out the intention to provide clients with services that offer:

  • hope
  • choice
  • empowerment
  • viable treatment and life options  

Excitingly in terms of treatment focus, recovery is at the heart of the treatment ethos and the methods proposed are basically about encouraging clients and staff to embrace a community focused approach to client empowerment and long-term change. This focus on a recovery approach to treatment and support is not suggesting an alternative to treatment but rather an addition of linking service users into wider community supports

Liber8’s adult projects ensure their service design and delivery are based around these national and local strategies aiming to take guidance and support from them in addressing alcohol and substance misuse problems in Lanarkshire


Sadly the Lanarkshire Meridian Project which began in 2011 and was delivered in partnership by Liber8 and ACT is to end on March 31st. 2016

Meridian delivered range of interventions that addressed the needs of people across Lanarkshire. The project aim was to assist individuals and families who were experiencing issues related to alcohol and or drug use and in doing so address any related harm. Meridian helped thousands of individuals, and allowed them to move forward; many were able to address and move forward from their issues while many more embarked on a recovery journey; rebuilding their lives and playing an active role within their family, local community and wider society

In the period of just over 4 years there were almost 69,000 counselling and support appointments provided in the Meridian project.

The reason for the closure is that available funds were cut by almost 30% and the target numbers attributed to the project were doubled, other service elements were also added to the requirements. Despite our best efforts we were unable to meet all the requirements in the tender process for the available funds and essentially lost the contract.

All staff are immensely proud of the work of the project and are saddened to see it end. Many clients are extremely upset at the ending and worried about not having a service. However we can assure clients that the Lanarkshire Alcohol and Drug Partnership has commissioned an alternative service which will be available; it will not be in the same mould as Meridian and may offer different types and levels of support but it will be a service for clients to refer in to.

As of April 1st 2016, two national organisations were awarded the contract. Addaction won the contract in South Lanarkshire and Phoenix Futures will provide an alternative service in North Lanarkshire

Liber8 want to say a huge thank you to all the staff within the Meridian project who made it such an excellent service; we would also like to thank partners who supported the work. Most of all we wish to thank each and every client who have overwhelmed us with their kindness in recent weeks; we greatly appreciated your support and gratitude for Meridian. We wish you all the very best for the months and years ahead