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Drug and alcohol support services

All group sessions and face to face work have stopped until further notice. 

Access to support and referrals 

BCP council providers can still accept new referrals. All contact details remain the same

We Are With You (former Addaction), SDAS, EDAS and REACH East are currently operating a closed door policy at their offices. However, they are still offering support over the telephone or via email. 

Adult Services:

  • We Are With You (former Addaction) 01202 558855 (Bournemouth area)
  • SMART - 01202 735777 (Poole area)
  • REACH East - 0800 043 4656 (Christchurch and Dorset area)
  • BCP Prescribing (AWP): 01202 977010 [not for referrals, only specific queries]
  • Online referrals.

Young People & Families Services:

  • We Are With You Young People and Families - 01202 830173 (Bournemouth area)
  • YADAS - 01202 741414 (Poole and Christchurch area).

Support from online meetings and support services

There are online mutual aid meetings as well as the support direct from our services:

Providers are offering almost all support online or via the phone. Exceptions are:

  • handing over needle exchange equipment and receiving used equipment for disposal
  • new prescribed clients who are not known to our services, where a drug test or face-to-face meeting is required 
  • service users where a specific safeguarding risk has been identified.

Pharmacy supervision suspended

Most service users who previously received their medication by attending the pharmacy every day and being supervised while taking it are now on twice weekly or weekly collections of medication.

This is to reduce the risk of catching or transmitting the virus, and to reduce footfall to pharmacies that are already struggling to meet demand. 

Someone can collect your medication for you

If you need someone to collect your medication on your behalf, complete a Proxy form available from all drug services and pharmacies. 

The Police are aware of the changes to our delivery arrangements and services are working with them to reduce the opportunities for criminal exploitation. Services are developing and issuing harm reduction guidance, responding to the risk of people seeking alternatives to street drugs, for example, online.  

Due to the expected shortage/reduced purity of drug supplies, we are anticipating an increase in the number of people who use opioids seeking treatment. 

Unfortunately, our services are under pressure so please be patient if you have to wait for a medical assessment. 

Needle Exchange

All Needle Exchanges continue to run as normal. For opening times and further information please call:

  • We Are With You (former Addaction) - 01202 558855 (Bournemouth area)
  • SMART - 01202 735777 (Poole area)
  • REACH East - 0800 043 4656 (Christchurch and Dorset area).

Please continue to access a needle exchange as usual.

Do not share equipment. Do not re-use equipment unless in an emergency if you can not access a needle exchange. If you are self isolating or fit into the group that should remain indoors please contact your central needle exchange who will arrange a delivery to your accommodation. Talk to your support worked if you live in a supporting people housing provision.

If you misuse opiates and do not have a Naloxone kit, please contact the local single point of contact services above to obtain your kit. It is recommended that anyone living with someone misuse opiates also carries a kit. Naloxone is a life saving drug which temporarily can reverse an opiate overdose.

Harm reduction strategies for alcohol dependence

If you experience withdrawal symptoms such as shaking, sweating, nausea or headache after several hours without a drink, please do not stop drinking suddenly as these signs mean that you are likely to be physiologically dependent and you will go into alcohol withdrawal. 

Alcohol withdrawal can be fatal and has serious complications if undertaken without medication, like seizures and confusion with hallucinations.

Your goal should be to cut down and gain some control of your drinking by moving to treating alcohol as a medicine.  What this means is spacing out your drinks to manage withdrawal symptoms.  We expect the benefits of this to be:

  • having a lower risk of running out of alcohol and going into untreated withdrawal
  • reducing the damage alcohol does to your body, as this is dose related.

Start with a drinking diary: write down each drink you have when you have it and find out how many units it has in it.  Start measuring your drinks if you are drinking from a bottle of spirits or wine. Unit calculators are easily available on the Internet or via phone apps. Alternatively the % alcohol on the side of the bottle or can represents the amount of units 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 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: tot up your total amount drunk in 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 those drinking more than 25 units per day.  

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.

Tips to help you taper your alcohol intake:

  • enlist the help of loved ones – if they can help to measure or monitor, and keep the alcohol, it will be easier for you.  
  • transition to a lower strength drink: e.g. replace one can of your high strength lager with a standard strength lager
  • measure out your drinks
  • add water or a mixer to drinks or alternate soft drinks with alcohol
  • pay attention to your diet – limit sugar intake, 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, telephone 1:1s with keyworker. 

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 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 your addictions team. Please do not attempt this if you have a history of seizures or seeing things when you come off alcohol.


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