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Drug and alcohol support services

Support continues to be provided by video conference, telephone, via email and face to face when safe to do so.

Access to support and referrals 

We Are With You (formerly Addaction) is commissioned by BCP Council to support people experiencing issues with drugs and alcohol.

The services We Are With You provide in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole include:

  •       Single point of contact service
  •       Recovery and reintegration psychosocial service
  •       Young people and family service
  •       Specialist prescribing service

If you live in Dorset (excluding Christchurch) REACH is commissioned by Dorset Council to support people with drug and alcohol problems.

Adult Services:

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole areas are supported by We Are With You:

  • you can call 01202 558855. The phone line is available Monday to Friday, from  9am to 5pm
  • you can visit https://www.wearewithyou.org.uk/. Web chat is available.

Dorset is covered by REACH:

Support can also be found through online referrals.

Young People & Families Services:

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole areas are supported by the We Are With You Young People and Families service:

  • you can call 01202 558855. The phone line is available Monday to Friday, from  9am to 5pm
  • you can visit https://www.wearewithyou.org.uk/. Web chat is available.

Dorset is covered by REACH. You can call 0800 0434656.

Support from online meetings and support services

There are online and face to face mutual aid meetings available as well as the support direct from our services:

Pharmacy supervision

The medical service will continue to respond to government advice around patient safety in relation to supervised consumption and collection from pharmacies.

Someone can collect your medication for you

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

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 on 01202 558855, if you are in the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole areas
  • REACH on 0800 043 4656 if you are elsewhere in Dorset.

You can also use We Are With You's search page to find a needle exchange service near you.

Do not share equipment. Do not re-use equipment unless in an emergency if you cannot access a needle exchange. If you are in the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area and you are self isolating, or you fit into the group that should remain indoors, please contact We Are With You on 01202 558855. They will arrange a delivery to your accommodation. Talk to your support worker if you live in a supporting people housing provision.

You can contact REACH on 0800 043 4656 if you are elsewhere in Dorset.

Naxolone

If you misuse opiates and do not have a Naloxone kit, please contact We Are With You (BCP) or REACH (Dorset) to obtain your kit. It is recommended that anyone who is living with or knows someone misusing opiates also carries a kit. Naloxone is a life saving drug which temporarily can reverse an opiate overdose.

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 call the Wessex Peer Coordinator on 07495 154 385 or visit their website.   

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 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 alcohol 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 alcohol 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 number 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 We Are With You (Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area) or REACH (Dorset area). Please do not attempt this if you have a history of seizures or seeing things when you come off alcohol.

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