‘Blue Light’ refers to the many thousands of people across the country who are drinking alcohol at higher risk or dependent levels, who aren’t accessing treatment for their drinking, but whose consequences of drinking lead them to use resources such as the police and ambulance services on a frequent basis. It is estimated that 94% of people drinking dependently are not accessing treatment. The manual seeks to identify why this is the case, and importantly, what can be done about it.
The manual is a must-read for anyone concerned about this issue and for staff who work with clients in this group. It includes tools for understanding why clients might not engage, risk assessment tools which are appropriate for drinkers, harm reduction techniques workers can use, advice on crucial nutritional approaches which can reduce alcohol related harm, and questions to help non-clinicians identify potential serious health problems and deliver enhanced personalised education
This group of people are often categorised as being unable to change, and if this label is attached it is small wonder that they start to believe that message themselves and find that they cannot change. The manual helps to break that message and offer a way forward.
Key themes from the conference included ensuring that treatment services have engagement strategies that recognise and support this client group; that multi-agency approaches are required; and that, given the right support, non-specialists can make a huge difference in this area.
The conference also looked at the development of the manual. Copies of the current version of the manual are available at:http://www.alcoholconcern.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Alcohol-Concern-Blue-Light-Project-Manual-Final.pdf
On-line training on the subject of Identification and Brief Advice (IBA) is available at the Alcohol Learning Centre – http://www.alcohollearningcentre.org.uk/eLearning/IBA/ . This is a free course, which gives good advice on simple ways to provide information to someone about alcohol. If you take the test at the end, you can print off a certificate of completion.
Jonathan Philpott – Project Manager, Alcohol Services