Displaying items by tag: Drugs
Gasped operates a 24-hour helpline and a drop in facility to support families and carers affected by drug use. There is a database of services for family members to refer to for information.
Gasped also offers a variety of tailor-made drug and alcohol awareness training programmes in Wakefield and the surrounding areas.
I have followed with increasing dismay the numerous concerns expressed over the likely implications of the Ministry of Justice's, alarmingly short, six week Transforming Rehabilitation consultation. If the consultation is implemented without amendments, it could lead to what many fear will be the demise of the Probation Service. Alongside this consultation trundles another legislative milestone in the shape of the Crime and Courts Bill. Contained within the Bill are concerns surrounding the provision that every community sentence should contain at least one punitive element. Reflecting on these developments reminded of a particularly difficult experience that occurred during my time as a probation officer. I was preparing a pre-sentence report on Clare (not her real name) whose index offence was one of threatening behaviour. She had according to the prosecution, persisted in remonstrating about her personal circumstances when faced with potential homelessness from council premises. The police were called to the incident and arrested her and subsequently the magistrates asked that the Probation Service provide a 'fuller picture of this troubled woman's situation'.
I noted on the court papers that the interview for the pre-sentence report might well need to be home–based (in this instance at an address funded by the community mental health services) and arrangements were made for me to visit her. I was used to visiting a high percentage of clients at local hostels and bed and breakfasts. The first meeting with Clare was suffocatingly intimate, in the sense that the B&B room provided was so small I had to write my report notes on my knees as she struggled to articulate her story of increasing marginalisation, vulnerability and an unwelcome dependency on psychotropic medication. Before the visit, I had spoken to her community psychiatric nurse (CPN) so was better prepared to understand the stresses and demands of her situation.
There was some dispute regarding her culpability and as such I was minded to propose to the court that sentence be deferred for between 3-6 months. I would arrange to see her during this time and liaise with her key workers.
I sensed that when the deferment was sanctioned Clare felt 'let down' because deferral was often construed as a prelude to statutory supervision and as such was cited as 'testing motivation'. One day she appeared at the probation office unannounced and insisted that I see her to resolve a number of issues that she believed merited immediate resolution. Hurriedly rescheduling tasks for that day, I accompanied Clare to an interview room and said that I would help as best I could. As I listened to her concerns, she became increasingly distressed. Colleagues in adjacent rooms looked in anxiously to see if my safety was being compromised. I never experienced any fear of potential harm but began to realise that her deep seated issues could not be dealt with on one day. After three hours, and one of the most fraught interviews in my 20 years as a probation officer, Clare left the office weeping inconsolably.
Shortly before her court date at the end of the deferment period, I spoke to Clare by phone and said that a period on a community sentence, shortened perhaps by her deferred sentence, was uppermost in my mind. She accepted that maybe there was some worth in re-engaging with probation, partly to access services that addressed her needs but, just as important, to allow her to explore what she believed to be her 'deeper needs' for some connection to sources of help and support.
I was profoundly saddened to hear from her key worker that staff at the B&B had discovered Clare's lifeless body in her room when they went to remind her of her appointment with her GP. I subsequently found out that she had taken a fatal overdose and had most probably lain dead over the weekend. The verdict later at her inquest recorded Clare's death as suicide. The court was duly informed of this tragic turn of events. I arranged to see Clare's CPN to try to make sense of this sad outcome. He explained that she had mentioned self harming when he visited her over many years but she had always drawn back from the precipice of self destruction. I returned to the office full of gloom and disbelief.
But whether further criminalising or indeed 'psychologising' of Clare's disruptive behaviour would have made any difference to the direction her life might have taken, is indeed a moot point. Certainly when I interviewed her for the first time she said that 'everyone needs to have someone to care for them'. From my point of view, punishment in the community was what Clare had experienced in reality.
The Nelson Trust is a national drug and alcohol treatment provider based in Stroud. Their approach is abstinence-based, and uses an integrative approach to counselling alongside a range of other therapeutic techniques.
There are 41 bed spaces which are available in four separate houses. Clients between the ages of 17 to 75 stay in residential treatment for around six months and may stay in the resettlement houses for up to a year. Living in small house groups creates a supportive environment with the additional element of peer support throughout the treatment programme. Clients are responsible for sharing housekeeping duties such as shopping, cleaning and cooking and regular house meetings are held in order to discuss any housekeeping issues that may have arisen through the week.
Early Break offers a free, unique service to young people and their families who have issues with drugs and alcohol. The work they do initiates positive change and empowers individuals and their families to make significant alterations to their lives.They offer both group, and one-to-one help to families in which there are significant problems of substance misuse, and take the necessary steps to ensure that children’s voices are heard. A crucial aspect of Early Break is the focus on early intervention.
Early Break is the chosen Young Person's Drug and Alcohol Service for Bury, Rochdale and East Lancashire. It assists those aged up to 19 in Bury and Rochdale, whilst supporting young people aged up to 21 in East Lancashire.
The Service User Involvement Team (SUIT) was set up in February 2007 in order to give the users of Wolverhampton Drug Services a voice in the way that services are provided.
SUIT is made up of and run by ex addicts and has a unique texting service that informs users of dangerous drugs that are out there on the streets. Through the texting service alerts for events such as boxing, football, Zumba for women and any educational courses that are available are communicated. The team also accept referrals from other organisations and refer and signpost service users to the relevant agencies for the help and support ther require.
Signpost and Rite Direkshon, based in Bristol, connect together Afrikan/Caribbean and people with dual heritage who have problems with, for example, unemployment, housing, crime, drugs and racism. Signpost and Rite Direkshon also provide family support for people who have relatives in prison, at risk of going to prison or being released from prison.
Signpost and Rite Direkshon work with the police, probation, youth offending teams and other organisations trying to address community safety. There is also a volunteering programme which helps young people aged 18 to 25 to develop skills and take up training and employment opportunities.
Poverty, abuse and neglect during childhood cause severe emotional damage in young people, who turn to drugs and crime to escape their feelings of anger, fear and guilt. The Nehemiah Supported Housing Programme means that vulnerable men who are recovering addicts, homeless and/or are ex-offenders can be supported emotionally and physically to become empowered to live independent lives out in the community. The programme aims to bridge the gap between prison and independent living for ex-offenders. The transfer from custody to community is a critical time when positive changes can either be cemented or lost because there are endless opportunities for men to slip back into previous patterns of drug-use and crime. Alongside ex-offenders we also welcome vulnerable men who are either recovering from addictions or are homeless. We provide advice and support so men become empowered to live independently and self-sufficiently.
Poverty, abuse and neglect during childhood cause severe emotional damage in young people, who turn to drugs and crime to escape their feelings of anger, fear and guilt. The Nehemiah Supported Housing Programme means that vulnerable men who are recovering addicts, homeless and/or are ex-offenders can be supported emotionally and physically to become empowered to live independent lives out in the community.
The programme aims to bridge the gap between prison and independent living for ex-offenders. The transfer from custody to community is a critical time when positive changes can either be cemented or lost because there are endless opportunities for men to slip back into previous patterns of drug-use and crime. Alongside ex-offenders we also welcome vulnerable men who are either recovering from addictions or are homeless. We provide advice and support so men become empowered to live independently and self-sufficiently.
The sudden and untimely death of the singer Whitney Houston evoked a strange mix of emotions. Although never a devotee of her music I was captivated by her best selling song, 'I will always love you'.
Her song accompanied a funeral service I attended for a former client who had succumbed to a lethal crack cocaine binge while celebrating New Year. I had an uneasy understanding of the impact of crack on the lives of many of those offending, or involved in low level dealing. Dealing crack in open market transactions, as was the case with John (not real name), meant that many contradictory emotions were aroused, when as his probation officer I watched as the strains of this song entered my memory leaving the funeral service.
The question remained: how best to have responded to his nearly 30 year relationship with drug use. One aspect often overlooked by state agencies (John was caught more than once by undercover police officers in sting operations) was that the social reality of such drug use was often fraught with the use of violence enforcing what was often perceived as breaches of contract between dealers
Indeed John was seldom the author of such violence but on at least one occasion was severely assaulted by 'unknown others' in pursuit he explained, of parts of the lucrative local crack market. This 'codes of the street' are well documented in ethnographic accounts that pepper the criminological canon. He kept his probation appointments, although not always at times that coincided with any formal timetable! But the special craft of relationship building and sensibility to the complex and at times scary social world that unfolded when John reported to the office, meant that some hard won insights were gained in just how he remained so entrenched in his drug using lifestyle and pattern of offending.
I struggled to understand the peculiar graduations that premised increased sentence length based on small increases in the quantities of crack cocaine seized. In John's case, the amounts always appeared modestly low: maybe this was the reason so many low-end dealers found themselves on probation, or more likely on licence, having served time in prison. John talked, layered with a mirthful patois, of his keen desire to reach some endgame with crack, which seemed fated not to happen. His death was so poignant because he was veering steadily towards a drug-free future, but celebrated in a fateful blast of crack consumption the dawning of a new stage of his life. His demise was framed by the sudden lethality of over-consumption in the early hours of New Year.
I thought at the time and throughout my probation career about who on my caseload might persist or desist as adult offenders, mostly compounded by some form of substance misuse. The imprisoning framework that so often surrounds the lives of those most vulnerable to early death or abusive and precarious lifestyles left me with a confused medley of feelings. Feelings about attitudes, approaches and societal ambivalence towards drug use, formal sentencing responses to such usage, the cultural embeddedness of drug taking and more particularly the sheer futility of any 'war on drugs' -metaphorical or otherwise.
For as John used to say to me, ' things done change'.
We take young people on an interactive tour of how easily they can become drawn into gangs, the often life long consequences of a criminal record and a prison term, the range of sentences which are being applied by the courts to take entire gangs off the streets, the impact of Joint Enterprise, a visual tour through a male young offender unit, the prison regime and actual prison clothing, the dangers which accompany imprisonment, the impact of the offender's behaviour, particularly on the family and specifically on the mum before closing with demonstrations of anti crime technology.
This directory is an online database that allows you to search for voluntary and community organisations that work with offenders and their families in England and Wales. Organisations can be searched for through the location a person is in, the name of the organisation, a list of all organisations and there is also a general search. Listing and registering your organisation's details is free.