As we roll into the colder months, A Celebration of Life 2023 is just around the corner. A Celebration of Life is our annual event to remember and celebrate those lost to drugs and alcohol. We cordially invite anyone affected by the loss of someone close to them through drugs or alcohol to come along and share an evening reflecting and celebrating the lives of those who have left us too soon. 

There will be performances from the Gasworks Singers alongside Rising Voices, BDP’s recovery choir, words of remembrance from our hosting panel and the chance for people to contribute their own words or songs of remembrance for those they have lost.

The event is on Saturday, 25th November and will be held at St James’ Priory as it has been in previous years. Doors will open at 15:30, with the event starting at 16:00 and lasting for an hour. Refreshments and hot mince pies in the Priory’s cafe will be served afterwards. 

We are looking for people who might be moved to share something as part of the programme. This could be anything from a poem, a short story, an anecdote you feel is pertinent, or simply a photograph of your loved one to include in the memorial presentation. If this sounds like something you would be interested in, please email George Herbert at

Tickets are completely free and available from Eventbrite – or via the checkout below. Alternatively, you’re very welcome to show up on the day. Don’t worry about printing off your ticket, as we will have a list of names on the night. 

Following the sad and untimely passing of Maggie Telfer OBE, we have had a very important role to fill in our organisation. Maggie set BDP up 37 years ago and has been at the helm ever since. She was a massive character, and her work was trailblazing and passionate.  After a lengthy screening and interview process, we are happy to introduce Anna Smith, BDP’s new CEO.

Ben Judd, Anna Smith and Lydia Plant, BDP’s senior team, outside our building.

BDP: So welcome Anna  

Anna: Thanks! I am excited and pleased to be joining an organisation with such a rich history and a great reputation in the city and beyond. I have known BDP for many years from my work in different organisations around the city whose work has overlapped with BDP, and I look forward to building on the work done previously as we move forward.  

BDP: You’ve now had some time to find your feet at BDP; how have you been finding it?   

Anna: I’ve had a brilliant welcome from everyone here, and it’s been fantastic to see the dedication and commitment of all the staff to the people who use our services and to working towards our goals as an organisation. As part of my induction, I have been invited to many of the groups and services we run and have been meeting up with our key partner organisations too.   

Myself and Ben Judd, our new Director of Business Development, have hit the ground running with lots of stuff to keep us busy. In my first week, we had a very dangerous batch of heroin circulating in Bristol. It was incredible to see the response from staff and our partner agencies to put measures in place to keep people safe in a dynamic and complex emergency. It helped me see first-hand how vital our work is in not only reducing harm but saving lives. 

With our senior team being rounded out by Lydia Plant’s promotion to Director of Operations, we have our eyes set on the horizon, putting in vital work to prepare BDP for the upcoming commissioning process that is coming up.    

As with starting with any job, there has been a lot to take on, but I’m excited to get cracking.   

BDP: So, what’s your background, and how will this be an asset to BDP moving forward?   

Anna: I’ve been working in public/social services in Bristol and South Gloucestershire for 15 years now, so I know the sector’s landscape very well and have strong connections to Bristol across various organisations and governing bodies. This is my fourth CEO position, with most spread across organisations working to support vulnerable women. My first CEO position was at Survive in South Glos before moving to Advance in London and then back to Bristol to lead One25. Like BDP, all of these services put the needs of the people they support at the of what they do. Most recently, I have been Programme Director at Changing Futures in Bristol, an organisation dedicated to evaluating services and promoting linked-up, contemporary approaches to the support services sector and promoting a ‘system change’ approach.  

BDP: It’s been a big period of change at BDP. What’s your outlook for the next phase in our history?  

Anna: It certainly has, but change also allows positive growth and evolution. I knew and respected Maggie as someone who worked in the sector with her. One25 and BDP had very strong links, which led to our paths crossing a lot. Like many others, I massively respected her work, and she leaves big leopard print boots to fill! However, I am very much looking forward to building on her legacy and leading BDP into its next phase. We’re in a great position. With our fantastic and dedicated team, we are well on our way to making an even greater impact for the people we support. 

Image the booklet and cards along with naloxone kits

To celebrate International Overdose Awareness Day 2023 we have just released an overdose awareness toolkit to raise awareness and educate people on what to do during an opioid overdose situation. This is aimed to be used by people who use drugs, members of the public and professionals who might work with people who take opioids.

The toolkit includes a booklet stacked full of useful information, including:

It also includes credit card-sized cards about how to spot an opioid overdose and how to access naloxone from BDP for people to keep on their person.


All of the information is also available through a brand new page on our website, which can be accessed here –

This is all timely information as there is a significant rise in opioid overdoses in Bristol and around the country due to the proliferation of synthetic opioids in the drug supply.

To get a physical copy of the kit or for any other queries, please get in touch with us. All of our contact details can be found here –


In a new collaborative project, we have trained up nearly 200 police officers from Avon & Somerset Police to carry and use naloxone. 

Naloxone is a medication that temporarily reverses the effects of an opioid overdose allowing time for the person to receive emergency medical care. 

BDP’s Jake Gazzard training officers to carry and use naloxone

Given the police’s presence on the streets of the city and that they are likely to be first at the scene to an opioid overdose, it makes them the ideal candidates to carry naloxone. We train and equip professionals in any job that may come into close contact with someone who is experiencing an overdose including hostel staff, social workers and homeless outreach. Adding police to this list is an effective way to improve the already expansive naloxone coverage across the city.  

Avon & Somerset Police’s Neighbourhood Inspector, Tom Gent said,

“We are committed to working with our partners to reduce the harm caused by drugs in our communities, we’re asking our frontline staff to volunteer to carry Nyxoid, which is being provided free by Bristol Drugs Project.  By volunteering to carry Nyxoid, frontline police officers and PCSOs will be able to help save a life should they come across someone who needs immediate help, due to an opioid overdose.” 

We also train and equip anyone who uses opioids or knows someone who does. If you would like to be trained, please contact us or drop into our advice centre. Contact details and address can be found here.

BDP Service Manager, Lydia Plant said,

“We are blown away by the number of officers we have trained and the opportunity to save lives this presents. This is an incredibly exciting collaboration, and we celebrate Avon & Somerset Police’s positive approach to reducing the harms faced by people who use drugs in Bristol.” 

This project is timely following a spate of overdoses and 6 deaths in the last couple of weeks due to a dangerous batch of heroin circulating in the city. You can find out more about this dangerous batch and how you can keep yourself safe here. 

Are you a professional and think you or your organisation should be carrying naloxone? Find out how to book onto a training session here. 

A safety warning has been issued in Bristol due to a batch of heroin increasing the chance of overdose following an unusually high number of serious, heroin-related health incidents. Six people have tragically died, and many more have needed emergency medical care.  

Taking heroin is always dangerous, but fluctuations in the supply can have tragic consequences for those who use it. It is unclear how far spread this batch is within the city, and there have not been consistent reports on how it looks or prepares, so we would encourage anyone who uses heroin to be very careful.   

Some ways you can stay safer if you are taking heroin are: 

The most powerful tool we have to prevent death from overdose is naloxone. Naloxone is a drug that temporarily reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. BDP is working closely with partners, including the police, public health and other front-line agencies, to reduce the impact of this batch of heroin, raise awareness of the potential dangers and offer free training in naloxone administration. 

Lydia Plant, Treatment Services Manager at Bristol Drugs Project (BDP) said: “Over the last ten days, countless people’s lives have been saved by naloxone. BDP can issue naloxone for free to anyone that needs it – you may be able to save someone’s life with it. Whether you use heroin, live with someone who does or might come across someone overdosing in your community or as part of your job, please visit our website or drop in to BDP to pick some up.” 

She continues, “Despite the tragic situation, it has been heartening to see how effectively all of the different partner agencies across the drug and alcohol sector, criminal justice sector and Bristol City Council have pulled together to put strategies in place to mitigate the risk to people’s lives.” 

If you are concerned about yourself or someone else, please get in contact. You can call us on 0117 987 6000, Email or visit 11 Brunswick Square, Bristol, BS2 8PE. More details can be found on our website here

For any press request, please get in touch with BDP Communications Lead George Herbert on or call 07800 721506 

BDP team member alongside the Dentaid mobile surgery

Oral health problems are among the most prevalent health problems associated with drug addiction (1). Many of the people we support struggle with their dental health through numerous compounding factors. These include: 

In collaboration with dental health charity Dentaid, we ran two days of dental appointments for people engaged in BDP services from our location in Brunswick Square. Participants received a check-up, could talk to a dentist about any issues they were having and had emergency procedures, including fillings and extractions as needed. Over the two days, we had 23 people with dental issues and barriers to treatment seen by a dentist. The patients were booked in by staff across our services and an allocated Engagement worker who supported them to their appointment. If there were any no-shows on the day, these slots were filled by walk-ins from our advice centre.

Over the two days, we performed:

Janet*, who used the service on the day, said:  

“Previous bad experiences put me off from going to the regular dentist; I didn’t trust them. Because of who BDP is, the organisation, I trusted it straight away. 

It was a really good experience; it’s made me want to follow it up and get more work done. Because of my self-confidence and being so embarrassed about my mouth – I didn’t go places or do anything that I would normally do. “

*Name changed for privacy 


(1) Met and unmet need for dental services among active drug users in Miami, Florida, Metsch, Crandall, Wohler-Torres et al. The Journal of Behavioural Health Services & Research, 2002

(2) NHS dentistry: What future is there if dentists can’t pay the bills?

(3)Oral Health of Drug Abusers: A Review of Health Effects and Care 

Shekarchizadeh, Khami, Mohebbi, Ekhtiari, Virtanen, 2013.

(4) Stigma of addiction and mental health in dental settings: patients’ experiences, Alan Rana, 2014