Substance misuse

Local views

Alcohol services

A survey was conducted in May 2014 of both service users and providers - 17 responses were received including both service users and professionals.  Themes raised included:

  • Difficulty accessing services.  This included concerns around waiting rooms with people dealing or aggressive behaviour, other individuals smelling of drink, and feelings that the environment at CAN (with a focus on drug misuse) did not apply to them. 
  • Feeling CAN services catered more to drug misuse than alcohol misuse, and felt there was stigma surrounding accessing a drug service
  • Concerns surrounding confidentiality – some individuals were concerned that this would not maintained and there was one reported instance of personal details being shared
  • The relationship between drug and alcohol services and mental health services had improved with joint meeting occurring
  • CALS workers were thought of highly by service users and professionals and could be used more
  • Joint working was generally good

A further snapshot survey or service users was carried out, which raised the following issues:

  • Treatment does not cater for drugs other than heroin and cocaine e.g. ketamine, party drugs
  • Frequent changes in key workers
  • Some staff rated for special mention as being very good and willing to share their expertise
  • Alcohol related contact seem to be better but little idea of what is being delivered to client
  • No extra support for client is available if needed e.g. if going through a crisis

Feedback was also sought from CALS workers.  They felt that they were frequently seeing patients who should not be seen by CALS but at the main hubs, and reiterated the fact that service users frequently decline ongoing treatment for their alcohol issues as they will not attend the CAN hub and prefer to remain with the community CALS workers (the latter only provide 6 sessions).  They had also found that there was a stigma around treatment centres and alcohol clients mixing with drug clients:  ‘It has taken me a year to come back after I went to the Crescent and felt intimidated by some of the people in the waiting room.’ CALS workers would therefore extend the number of sessions beyond what they are commissioned for in some cases.  Further work carried out by the CALS workers beyond their scope includes supporting patients undergoing detoxification in Weller Wing, and providing basic awareness training to GP staff.   

Meetings were also held with two of the locality groups (West Mid Beds and Chiltern Vale).  There was some confusion surrounding referral pathways into drug and alcohol services, leading to a plan to invite CAN in to clarify this.  CALS workers were spoken of highly.  A further point raised was regarding the treatment pathway of dual diagnosis patients, with GPs being concerned that the mental health issue was cited as a block to treatment.  It should be ensured that the service is an inclusive one for service users with a dual diagnosis, picking up treatment and prescribing needs. 

Independent users representatives held a feedback session with local service users.  A number of people identified who were not accessing treatment that the service was not aware of..  A substantial number of these were amphetamine users who felt that the CAN service did not apply to them.  Other reasons for not attending services were feeling that their substance abuse was not a problem, or that they did not identify with service users – ‘leave me out, mixing with all them junkies and alkies’


Last updated Friday, 22nd April 2016