BDP has been praised as an example of ‘good practice’ for the way we respond to the needs of people using New Psychoactive Substances.

A joint inspection by HM Inspectorate of Probation and the Care Quality Commission features BDP and Bristol’s Community Rehabilitation Company (operated by Working Links) as a positive example of “close working between probation and substance misuse services”.

Titled ‘New Psychoactive Substances: the response by probation and substance misuse services in the community in England’, the inspection was undertaken to identify good probation practice in tackling New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) use, such as Spice, given reports of rising concerns about its use among offenders.

The report makes it clear that NPS use is still relatively limited compared to the problematic use of alcohol and drugs such as cocaine and heroin.

NPS are used largely by the homeless community and by other vulnerable people, including those who offend.

The case study looks at a service user who was referred from hospital to BDP for a brief intervention around his Spice use, having started using it in prison.

The BDP keyworker spoke to Peter’s CRC responsible officer after every appointment. She could see that the responsible officer had a good relationship with Peter, and on occasion if he turned up in an aggressive mood, she would direct him to see his responsible officer and return when he was calmer, which he did.

With the collaborative support of his BDP keyworker and CRC officer, the service user successfully detoxed from Spice and was offered a place on our relapse prevention programme.

The BDP keyworker was quoted as saying that success was partly due to “really good interagency working” between BDP and the CRC officer, who they praised for going “the extra mile” in supporting the service user’s treatment.

His BDP keyworker has since said that the service user “looked like a different person”.

Find out more about how we can support you around New Psychoactive Substances such as the synthetic cannabinoid Spice.

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BDP had a great time celebrating the achievements and talents of people in recovery at this year’s Recovery Festival held at St Agnes Park and Church.

As well as providing a familiar friendly face and showing off the wealth of support we can offer, we were also there to support our creative outputs, Rising Voices the recovery choir and Step Ladder our drama group.

Browse a selection of photos below and subscribe to the Recovery Festival’s mailing list to find out how you could take part in next year’s event.

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Recovery Festival 2018

A recent study led by the University of Bristol & the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine with the support of Rachel Ayres from BDP has shown that providing clean injecting equipment is a highly cost effective way of preventing the transmission of hepatitis C.

The research estimated the cost effectiveness of three existing needle and syringe programs like our needle exchange in cites with varying levels of hepatitis C infection amongst the injecting population – Bristol, Dundee and Walsall.

Using several mathematical models the researchers estimated what might happen if all the programs stopped for the first 10 years of a 50 year period and found that the cost savings for Bristol alone would be £159,712. In

The study also showed that needle and syringe programs would continue to be cost effective even if hepatitis C treatment rates increased or the treatment costs reduced due to the ability of these programs to prevent re-infection.

Talking about the research the co-lead author of the study, Dr Zoe Ward from the NIHR Health Protection Research Unit in Evaluation of Interventions based at the University of Bristol said:

We have evaluated the impact and cost-effectiveness of needle and syringe programmes in the UK for the first time. The results are clear. Needle and syringe programmes not only reduce the number of new HCV infections among people who inject drugs and improve their quality of life, they are also low-cost, excellent value for money and, in some areas, save money, which is good news for our cash-strapped local authorities. We hope that Public Health England and local government commissioners and policy makers will take note and continue to commission needle and syringe programmes, which are currently under threat of funding cuts.

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Bristol Drugs Project was delighted to be recognised with two nominations in the Golden Key Great Practice Awards which were held for the first time this year.

BDP received nominations for its part in Bristol’s multiagency outreach and wet clinic team thanks to Darlene Wheeler. Jasmine Lawrie (BDP) was nominated alongside Stephen Pratt (Golden Key) for the partnership between Golden Key and BDP to deliver training to staff working in local cafes, bars and other venues.

The awards have been setup to celebrate the people working hard to improve services and outcomes for people with complex needs. They recognise the good work taking place around Bristol to provide better support to the most vulnerable people in the community.

Talking about the awards Maggie Telfer, CEO of Bristol Drugs Project said…

Bdp was delighted not only to have two nominees in the very first Golden Key Great Practice Awards but to have our very own Rising Voices adding their special sound to the event. Our nominations were for training Jasmine & Stephen have developed and delivered; and for Darlene’s exceptional work with partner BrisDoc and St Mungo’s, running Bristol’s Wet Clinics for people who are alcohol dependent, who otherwise couldn’t access services.  We were also really pleased that the award went to … Michael Ward from the DWP… who we’ve worked closely with on mitigating the impact of Universal Credit for our service users.

BDP’s Nominations for Organisations Working Together

Bristol’s multiagency outreach and wet clinic team

This is an initiative that has taken services to people and lowered barriers to treatment.  This combined team of outreach workers from St Mungos, Assertive Outreach workers from BDP and a GP from the Homeless Health Service engages homeless people with there and then harm reduction services (needle exchange, naloxone, wound care) and opens routes to emergency accommodation and wider health and substance misuse treatment systems.  It is called a wet clinic as unusually people are allowed to bring their alcoholic drinks onto the premises and therefore opens up services to those who are alcohol dependent and often homeless, meaning they need to keep their belongings (including their alcohol) on them.  Human relationships forged through practical interventions in environments with the lowest possible thresholds have reduced barriers to starting longer term health, psychosocial and housing interventions. Staff have started using the Blue Light Project as part of this for the first time in Bristol. This is a manualised suite of interventions designed to start the very steps in helping people to address long term and entrenched alcohol problems.

The sum of work carried out by this innovative team is greater than their individual components in connecting people with complex needs to housing, health and substance misuse. Such was the success and popularity of the first wet clinic at the Wild Goose café that a second wet clinic is now open at the Compass Centre run by the same team of professionals.

Jasmine Lawrie (BDP) & Stephen Pratt (Golden Key)

The second nomination was for a partnership between Golden Key and BDP, to deliver training to staff working in local cafes, bars and other venues, who are affected by anti-social behavior of customers in their workplaces. These difficult situations are often associated with poor mental health and / or substance misuse issues.

The training provides staff with drug and alcohol awareness and provides a psychological understanding of challenging behavior through learning about mental health, personality disorders and trauma informed approaches to understanding these.

Golden Key and BDP believe this is the first time this type of training has been designed for people working in the hospitality industry affected by anti-social behavior in their workplace, rather than for staff whose role is to support people with complex needs.

Based on the principles of Psychologically Informed Environments (PIE), staff are trained to work together reflectively when incidents occur, and how to take care of their own and each other’s wellbeing during an after incidents.

The first training session was given to staff from The Canteen at Hamilton House in Stokes Croft in November 2018.

Talking about the evening Jasmine Lawrie said:

I’m really honoured to be nominated, and especially in the category for partnership work. I think that in the current climate of austerity this collaborative work is especially important in the care of vulnerable people. The evening was lovely, the choir was superb and I nearly ate my weight in profiteroles! Thank you golden key.

Today marks the anniversary of the first Coronavirus lockdown in the UK. On this national day of reflection, we asked Rosey Stonehouse if she could look back over the year that’s passed and reflect on her own experiences.

One year on since our lives were turned upside down & life as we know it changed forever. The past year I, as I’m sure many others, have had to take life one day at a time. With the ever-changing rules, restrictions & news, it has caused lots of stress, uncertainty & chaos.

I’ve experienced life in this way before, albeit in different circumstances – living with a family member in active addiction. We existed in survival mode, going from one crisis to another, never knowing what each day may bring.

I was worried that this new crisis may make me feel the same as I did back then, feeling trapped & never able to look forward. In reality, it has allowed time & space to really stop and think about what is important. The past year has been full of challenges for everyone, personally, I have faced redundancy, the death of a family member, contracting Covid-19 & suffering ongoing complications which resulted in a trip to the hospital, as well as not being able to see friends & family.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final. (Rainer Maria Rilke)

I’ve learnt to enjoy spending time at home with my boyfriend & enjoy multiple nights in watching Netflix. I’ve gone on many walks, runs & met up with friends outside when allowed. I’ve had multiple Zoom quizzes; WhatsApp group chats & cooked dishes I’ve never attempted before. I’ve learnt not to take things for granted & realise how fortunate I am to have a strong support network around me, as we experience this collective trauma together. Everyone has been affected in some way & I no longer feel alone.

A quote that has helped me this past year is from the film, Jojo Rabbit, and it says “let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.” (Rainer Maria Rilke).

While we can’t detract from how awful this past year has been, the collective grief, loss, stress & negative impact in so many ways, I’d hope that for many, they can find some sort of silver lining, however small, that has come from learning to live life one day at a time.

Rosey first connected with BDP via our Bereavement Through Addiction group. For more information on our BTA group please click here.

Today BDP celebrates its 35th birthday!

It was 35 years ago today that BDP first opened its doors to the people of Bristol. BDP was set up by a group of people with lived experience of a drug problem and impassioned probation officers. They identified the absence of support for people who used drugs in Bristol and designed and created a service to fill that gap.

Since then, BDP has grown and evolved but we still operate by the same philosophy as those early days; to support some of the most vulnerable members of our society in an open and inclusive service and to challenge the prejudice which people with drug or alcohol problems still experience and which remains a major barrier to people seeking the support they need.

Although our birthday celebrations will have to be a modest affair this year, we would like to thank each and every one of you that have interacted with BDP over the years. From the volunteers who give up their time, the people who use our services and our talented and passionate staff; you all have played your part in making BDP what it is today. Here’s to another 35 years (and much improved future birthday celebrations!).