Thanks to great relationships we have been able to build up with local press, as part of my role working for Addictions Support & Counselling in Falkirk I have been able to give an insight to some articles written regarding those in our community who are affected by addictive behaviour. Huge thanks to journalist @JamesTrimble5 for caring enough to seek out a balanced, non-sensational direction for the articles published in The Falkirk Herald.
Addicts come in all ages, all shapes and sizes from all walks of life.
There will always be people in our communities who find themselves addicted to something, whether it be alcohol, drugs, gambling or something else they feel they cannot do without.
It is vital someone with an addiction problem has access to help and support and, since 2008, the emphasis placed on the actual physical treatment of the addiction is now matched by the need to assist people into long term recovery – following a model which has enjoyed success in the USA and one which has actually be proven to make a real difference to entire communities.
Falkirk has a variety of services, overseen and funded by the Forth Valley Alcohol and Drug Partnership, aimed at helping people affected by addiction.
These services range from counselling and support for addicts and their families and carers to GP prescribing for opiate replacement treatment, through to community rehabilitation for substance misusers.
Sean McCann is a cognitive behaviour therapist for the Addictions Support and Counselling (ASC) community rehabilitation service in Falkirk.
He believes shifting focus away from the treatment of addiction to recovery will pay dividends now and in the future.
Sean said: “The Scottish Government did some brilliant work in 2008 looking at the particular problems which affected Scotland. We have some very acute problems, with alcohol in particular, in this country.
“The government asked, how can we make changes? Before 2008 the focus was on treatment of the problem, but after 2008 things went a stage further and looked at ways of getting people into recovery and keeping them in recovery.
“They followed the ROSC – Recovery Oriented System of Care – model which leads people to start feeling better about the area they live in. We are not doing anything new here, the ROSC model is used all over the world and has had great success in the USA.”
In Forth Valley there is a tiered approach which aims to help people at every stage in their recovery journey, from initial stages of harm reduction and ending the chaotic behaviours associated with active addiction, through recovery planning and rehabilitation and finally to programmes to help build sustainable long term recovery.
Sean said: “It takes some people longer than others to get to the recovery stage. It’s about identifying the best way of helping each individual. It used to be the goal to get people free from their addiction, but now the big focus is on what happens next, with things like the Peer Support Programme which is open to recovering addicts who have been free from substances, not substitute drugs, for 12 months.
“Our Peer Support workers, who can be former addicts themselves, go out to organisations like the Salvation Army to help give advice and support. We have a Recovery Cafe in Stenhousemuir and there will be four more rolling out throughout the Falkirk area.
“There is lots happening in the community and all of it is about getting people away from the chaotic lifestyle and on the road to recovery. This takes financial pressure of the criminal justice system and removes financial burdens from the community.”