When you think of Harm Reduction and substance use, you might think of needle exchanges and safer injecting advice.
At St Anne’s Alcohol Services, although our main services are abstinence-based treatment, we also provide a lot of information and advice to people on how to reduce harm and keep safe whilst they are waiting for admission.
This advice extends far beyond simply advising someone to cut down the amount that they are drinking. Harm Reduction and Alcohol includes hydration and nutrition advice; keeping safe with medication; keeping safe with other substances; managing physical health and mental health issues; drink-driving messages; being safe at work, in the home and around children and other vulnerable people; and information for family, friends and carers on how they can support the person to keep safe.
We got the idea of turning this Harm Reduction advice into a leaflet. A trawl of the internet showed that you could easily get hold of the advice on how to cut down your alcohol intake, but not all the other useful Harm Reduction advice. The staff team at Alcohol Services, with support from Roger Brearley and Margaret Lee at Forward Leeds, put together a Harm Reduction leaflet for clients waiting to access our service. Our clients are vulnerable in many ways when they are drinking dependently and waiting for treatment to begin. Unfortunately, we are not always able to start treatment immediately, and by having this information available in a leaflet form, the clients and their families are able to use the advice to lower many different risks.
Although the leaflet is specifically written for clients waiting for treatment, there will be other St Anne’s clients and services that may benefit from the advice in the leaflet. Copies of the leaflet can be downloaded from the Alcohol Services’ pages of the St Anne’s public website www.st-annes.org.uk