LDAN news

Essential reading for the London drug and alcohol sector

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Naloxone: A life-saving medicine ready for community use

LDAN news looks at the Naloxone Action Group England campaign for wider availability of naloxone, an antidote to opioid overdoses. Naloxone poster 2

Experts on heroin use are concerned that drug users and their families in England are being denied access to a life-saving medicine: naloxone, an antidote to heroin and other opioid overdoses.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has reported that opioid overdose deaths in England rose by 32% in 2013. Although London had the lowest overall drug misuse mortality rate in England in 2013 – at 23 deaths  per million population – this represents a significant increase from the 2012 figure, which stood at 19.1 per million population. The number of London ambulance callouts responding to heroin overdose has also increased markedly from 229 in 2012 to 395 in 2014. In response to the rise in the number of opioid overdoses, the newly formed Naloxone Action Group England (NAG England) are calling for urgent action to ensure wider availability of naloxone in England. Continue reading

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The future of the London drug and alcohol service provider forum

Alison Keating, Head of Alcohol and Drugs Team at Public Health England (London), writes about the future of the London service provider forum following the closure of DrugScope. 

Dear colleagues,

Over the years PHE London alcohol and drugs team has worked alongside Drugscope and LDAN to build relationships with London providers and work in partnership with provider organisations. The forum has been an important mechanism to bring London service managers together with the PHE London team, and DrugScope/LDAN to share learning, best practice and new guidance materials that will impact on London.  It has also provided a valuable opportunity for providers to meet with colleagues and network.

We are confirming that PHE London will continue to hold the quarterly service provider forums.  The agenda for these forums was previously developed by PHE with LDAN representing providers views and ensuring the forums met the needs of London providers.   We will continue to work with providers to ensure that future forum agendas reflect the needs and requests of providers in London.  I would welcome providers to email me with any thoughts and ideas over the next few weeks as to how we might take the development of the forum forward in the future, and ensure that this continues to meet your needs.  We will take the opportunity at the next provider meeting on 7th July to discuss with you how we can best run future meetings.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me in the meantime to put forward any suggestions of speakers or agenda items for the forum in July to: Umer.Khan@phe.gov.uk.

We look forward to hearing from you and working with you in the future.

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The Care Act: Protecting and expanding the rights of carers

Adfam’s Rachael Evans explains how the Care Act will expand and protect the rights of carers in Britain, including those who care for someone as a rAdfam logoesult of drug or alcohol misuse. Lali Gostich from CASA Families, Partners and Friends Service in Islington discusses what the Care Act will mean for services that support people affected by the someone else’s drug or alcohol use.

The Care Act, which comes into force on 1 April 2015, will expand and concretise the rights of the 5.67 million carers living in Great Britain, including those who care for someone due to drug or alcohol use. The Act consolidates existing care and support law into a single statute and refocuses it around the person rather than the service, with a shift in Local Authority duty from providing services to meeting needs, and placing individuals at the centre of their offer.

According to the Act, a carer is ‘an adult who provides, or intends to provide, care for another adult.’  This can be someone of any age who provides unpaid support to a family member or friend who could not manage without this help, and includes caring for someone due to illness, disability, mental health issues and drug and alcohol problems. For the first time, carers will now have the same legal rights as those for whom they care: carers will be legally be entitled to receive support and to an assessment of their needs for support. A lower eligibility threshold is also introduced; abolishing the requirement that carers must prove a ‘substantial amount of care on a regular basis’ in order to qualify for assessment.

Those who care for someone because of a drug or alcohol problem are rarely offered – nor do they usually take up – carer’s assessments, possibly because they don’t actually self-identify with the ‘carer’ label. We know that family and friends are a highly beneficial source of support and recovery capital for drug and alcohol users; as such, it is crucial they are given the support they need to be able to continue to provide this invaluable care. The Care Act is a positive reflection of the increased recognition of the role that family and friends can play in caring for and supporting drug and alcohol users.  Continue reading

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Voices from the Frontline: Starting conversations about multiple needs

LDAN News looks at the Voices from the Frontline toolkit, which aims to help start discussions about complex needs within offending, homelessness, substance misuse, and mental VFTF pic borderhealth services.

According to the recent Hard Edges report, the national average prevalence rate of people experiencing severe and multiple disadvantage (defined as someone experiencing two or more of homelessness, substance misuse, and offending) is about 1,470 cases per local authority over the course of a year. Along with several Northern cities and seaside towns, the report found that some central London boroughs, including Tower Hamlets, Camden and Islington, are among the twenty local authorities with the highest prevalence of severe and multiple disadvantage in the country. Six London boroughs, including Harrow and Richmond-upon-Thames, are among the local authorities with the lowest prevalence, however severe and multiple disadvantage remains an issue for all local authorities across the country.

Voices from the Frontline, supported by the Lankelly Chase Foundation, is a project which seeks to bring together the voices of people with multiple needs and exclusions, and those who work with them, to engage with the policy debate around complex needs. Complex needs might include homelessness, substance misuse, offending and mental ill health. The two year Voices from the Frontline project is being delivered by the Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) coalition, which is made up of DrugScope, Clinks, Homeless Link and Mind. Over the last six months, the Voices from the Frontline project team have been working closely with people experiencing complex needs, and those who support them to explore how policy could better serve people experiencing multiple needs. Continue reading

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Issues in Recovery: Addressing Intimate Partner Violence

Domestic violence picDrugScope have been working with London services, commissioners, and academics to examine how the needs of individuals who have experienced intimate partner violence can be better addressed within substance misuse services. Lauren Garland writes about the new briefing published by DrugScope on behalf of the Recovery partnership.

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is an issue which disproportionately affects people accessing drug and alcohol services. Research suggests that women who have experienced gender based violence are 5.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with a substance misuse problem over the course of their lifetime, while another study suggests that 21% of people who had experienced IPV believed that the perpetrator was under the influence of alcohol and 8% thought the perpetrator had used illicit drugs.

DrugScope have published a briefing paper which considers how substance misuse systems and services can better address the needs of people affected by drug and alcohol problems and IPV, with a regional focus on London. The paper follows a roundtable event held in December which was attended by London drug and alcohol commissioners, substance misuse and domestic abuse service managers, and policy specialists and academics. It also draws upon earlier work carried out by DrugScope, service visits, and published research and reports. Continue reading

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London Councils Pan-London Umbrella Support: Spotlight on fair access to services

DrugScope’s Paul Anders writes about the recent LC PLUS Spotlight event on fair access to Services. LC PLUS is a partnership between DrugScope, Homeless Link and Shelter and is supported by London Councils. It provides networking, training, information, mentoring and a range of other support to front-line services working with people affected by homelessness in London.

Almost fifty participants joined the LC PLUS spotlight event in January. The theme of the event was fair access to services, and the aim was to ensure that participants came away with new knowledge that would be of practical benefit to them in working with their clients.

In 2013-14, fewer than half the rough sleepers met by outreach teams in London were UK citizens, with 2945 British nationals compared to 3442 foreign nationals, most of these being from Europe. Providing accommodation, treatment or other support to non-UK nationals is an area of work a number of organisations have developed specialisms in, and yet more are having to find ways to work within an increasingly complex and restrictive framework of entitlements. Our first speaker, Paul Anderson, Policy Manager for PLUS partner Homeless Link, provided a brief overview of the social security system as it currently applies to people from the EU. Continue reading

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The Troubled Families Programme – Experiences from London

As the Troubled Families Programme prepares to move into its second phase Anne-Marie Pickup, Principal Policy Officer at London Councils, writes about London’s experiences of the programme to date.

London Councils recently published a new report – Troubled Families Programme: Lessons for Future Public Service Reform’.  The report explores the experience of the Troubled Families Programme in London and suggests that it offers important lessons for the wider reform of public services.

The Troubled Families Programme was launched by the government in April 2012, when £448 million was committed to turning around the lives of 120,000 families nationwide. The programme has been expanded to work with 400,000 more families between 2015 to 2020. The Troubled Families programme has shown clearly that devolving responsibility and funding for key public services to the local level – where the benefits of integration and personalisation can be realised – can bring services together effectively to both improve outcomes and cut costs. It has benefited from the trust shown in local government to get on and help turn around the lives of some of the families that place the greatest demand on public services.

That being said there is a great deal that can be learnt from the first phase of the programme. Understanding critical success factors as well as the challenges will be crucial both in terms of informing the design and delivery of the expanded programme and for public service reform more generally.
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Service Profile: Build on Belief – a charity run by and for service users

DrugScope’s Lauren Garland speaks to Tim Sampey, Chief Executive of Build on Belief, a charity run by and for drug and alcohol service users in London. Build on Belief

In 2005, Tim Sampey and his friend Terry, who were both in recovery at the time, started a Saturday badminton club. The badminton club was commissioned by the Kensington and Chelsea Drug and Alcohol Action Team and was open to anyone who had experienced or was experiencing drug and alcohol problems. “I thought then and I think now it was a remarkably bold piece of commissioning for 2005 because there was a perception among part of the industry and parts of the local authority that ‘you can’t do this with public money, you can’t let them run their own service because it’s going to be a disaster’. But it really worked, and it was built up using the skills and ideas of all the people who volunteered, because all the volunteers were in treatment and recovery.”

Tim explains that “It started with that single Saturday service. It was very rough and amateur. There was a huge learning curve”. Build on Belief has expanded rapidly since 2005 and now runs five services across Ealing, Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith both during the week and at the weekend, and a sixth service is in development. Continue reading

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The MOPAC Victims Fund: an opportunity for drug and alcohol services?

Lauren Garland writes about MOPAC’s Victims Fund, launched to support victims of crime across the capital, and one way in which drug and alcohol services might engage with the Fund.

The Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC) has launched a new fund – The MOPAC Victims Fund – to support victims of crime across the capital. The aim of the fund is to build the capacity and maximise the potential of voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations to help ensure the continued and improved provision of vital services to support victims of crime and help them cope and recover.

Organisations applying to the Fund individually may be granted between £10,000 and £20,000; alternatively organisations may apply to the Fund as part of a partnership, and partnerships of three or more organisations may be granted up to £80,000.

MOPAC use the definition of a victim laid out in the government’s Code of Practice for Victims of Crime: ‘a person who has suffered harm, including physical, mental or emotional harm or economic loss which was directly caused by criminal conduct; or a close relative of a person whose death was directly caused by criminal conduct’. Continue reading

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Addressing London’s mental health – building relationships to transform provision

Helen Gilburt, Fellow in Health Policy at the King’s Fund writes about developing a five year action plan for London’s mental health.helen-gilburt-portrait

In 2013 the King’s Fund were asked by the London Mental Health Chief Executives Group to undertake an independent piece of research to develop a vision of mental health provision in the capital over the next 5-10 years.  Our report ‘Transforming Mental Health: a plan of action for London’ is the culmination of this process.

The project began with a workshop that brought together key stakeholders in London including the NHS, social care and voluntary sector providers, commissioners from local authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups, academics, service users and carers. With a focus on public mental health and acute services, a clear set of priorities for future provision emerged on which there was consensus.

Many of the priorities identified, such as greater integration of services, a focus on preventative interventions and more holistic approaches fall beyond the remit of individual providers and instead require systemic solutions.  However, as the process progressed it was clear that achieving the cross-organisational working required to deliver the vision presented a significant challenge. This not only limited our ability to develop a plan but got to the heart of many of the issues facing mental health provision. Continue reading