Help with drugs or alcohol
We Are With You is commissioned by BCP Council to provide free support for people misusing drugs and alcohol.
Access to support and referrals
If you are worried about your own or someone else’s drinking or drug use, support is available face to face, by telephone, video conference and via email.
The services We Are With You provide in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole include:
- single point of contact service (SPOC)
- recovery and reintegration psychosocial service
- young people and family service
- specialist prescribing service.
Adults, children and young people in the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole areas are supported by We Are With You. To make a referral for yourself or someone else, you can:
6 Trinity House
161 Old Christchurch Road
Poole, opening from April
10 Parkstone Road
There are also satellite locations in and around BCP. For more details on opening times and venue locations please call We Are With You or visit the local services page.
Support for family, friends and concerned others
We Are With You offer help and support for people worried about someone else's drinking or drug use. Contact the BCP services above or visit the We Are With You advice page for friends and family.
If you live in Dorset but outside of BCP Council, REACH is commissioned by Dorset Council to support people with drug and alcohol problems.
You can contact REACH in the following ways:
Support from other organisations
As well as our local services, peer support is available from other organisations.
Needle exchange provision is a free and confidential service for people who inject drugs. It is designed to reduce the spread of blood borne viruses by providing sterile injecting equipment and by disposing of used equipment safely.
Contact We are With You using the details above if you want to know more about local need exchange services.
You can also access We Are With You's needle exchange services directory, or the directory available from Public Health Dorset.
Do not share or re-use equipment. If you cannot access a Needle Exchange please contact We Are With You, who will arrange a delivery to your accommodation. Talk to your support worker if you live in a supporting people housing provision.
Naloxone is a life saving drug which can temporarily reverse an opiate overdose.
If you misuse opiates and do not have a Naloxone kit, please contact We Are With You (or REACH if you live in a Dorset Council area) to obtain your kit.
If you are living with or know someone who is misusing opiates, we recommend that you also carry a naloxone kit.
Blood borne viruses
If you have been put at risk of catching a blood borne virus (hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV) through drug misuse, you can get tested through We Are With You and REACH.
The Hep C Trust also offer hepatitis C testing and support in Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole and Dorset for anyone affected by hepatitis C. For more information you can visit the Hep C Trust website or call the Wessex Peer Coordinator on 07495 154 385.
Harm reduction strategies for alcohol dependence
If you experience withdrawal symptoms such as shaking, sweating, nausea or headache after several hours without an alcoholic drink, please do not stop drinking alcohol suddenly. These symptoms mean that you are likely to be physiologically dependent on the alcohol and you may go into alcohol withdrawal.
Alcohol withdrawal can be fatal and has serious complications if undertaken without medication, like seizures, confusion and hallucinations.
Your goal should be to cut down and gain some control of your drinking by treating alcohol as a medicine. What this means is spacing out your alcohol drinks to manage withdrawal symptoms. The benefits of this approach can be:
- a lower risk of running out of alcohol and going into withdrawal
- less damage alcohol to your body through planned doses of alcohol.
You can start with a drinking diary. Write down each alcohol drink you have when you have it and find out how many units it has in it, and work out the total number of units you are having each day. Start measuring your drinks if you are drinking from a bottle of spirits or wine. Unit calculators can be found on the internet or using an app on your phone. Alternatively the percentage of alcohol on the side of a bottle or can will tell you the number of units of alcohol in a litre.
Try to space out your drinks, particularly in the middle of the day while keeping your drinking at the start and the end of the day stable.
Once you have stabilised your daily intake for one week, start to cut down slowly.
Cut down by no more than 10% of your total units per day. Then work out how much less you need to drink each day to cut down by no more than 10% per day. Ideally, cut down by 10% every four days, particularly if you are drinking more than 25 units per day at the beginning of the process.
If you start to experience withdrawal symptoms, this means you are cutting down too rapidly. Stabilise for one week and then cut down by 5-10% each week.
You can also:
- get help from loved ones – it will be easier for you if someone else is able to measure the alcohol or keep track of how much you are drinking
- move to a lower strength drink – for example, you can replace one can of high strength lager with a standard strength lager
- measure out all drinks so you can accurately record how much you are drinking
- add water or a mixer to drinks
- alternate between soft drinks and alcohol
- pay attention to the rest of your diet – reduce sugar and try to eat brown rice and wholemeal bread, as your thiamine requirements are likely to increase
- make sure you are taking your thiamine three times a day every day
- keep well-hydrated
- seek support via online AA meetings and telephone conversations with your key worker.
Please tell people you live with that if you experience a seizure, become confused, start to see or hear things which others cannot hear, develop double vision or become unsteady on your feet. They should call an ambulance if these symptoms happen.
If you reach a stage where you are drinking less than 10 units a day, you could try to cut down further and stop, with telephone advice from We Are With You or REACH. Please do not attempt this if you have a history of seizures or seeing things when you come off alcohol.