A NEW affordable addiction treatment programme has been backed to 'solve a vital piece of the drug prevention puzzle' in Winchester.

Help Me Stop provides intensive addiction treatment at a fraction of the cost of residential rehab.

Speaking at the launch, Professor Dame Carol Black, who led a major two-part drugs review in England, said needs-based commissioning is important to provide the right mix of drug treatment and recovery services to target local needs.

Supported by MP Steve Brine Help Me Stop is now bringing its existing London-based operation of face-to-face and online rehab to the city.

Working in partnership with Trinity Winchester, Help Me Stop Winchester will now offer accessible drug and alcohol rehab to adults right across Hampshire.

Hampshire Chronicle: Professor Dame Carol Black speaks to Hampshire therapists and addiction specialists, addiction recovery groups and mental health organisations

Prof Black said: "High quality local services based on local need and expertise are essential as a one size fits all approach does not work. Services commissioned from several providers are often required to provide options tailored specifically to the different needs within the community – in some areas heroin and crack cocaine are prevalent and in others ketamine and powder cocaine may be a significant problem. I’m delighted that as a result of my review, we are aiming for 30,000 more places for non-opiate users by the end of 2025. Help Me Stop is targeted particularly at individuals in the non-opiate category."

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Managing director of Help Me Stop, Chris Cordell, said: "We know from Professor Black’s review, and our own experience, that there are significant gaps in drug treatment provision nationwide, particularly for non-opiate users. Help Me Stop exists predominantly to provide abstinence-based treatment to people who use drugs like powder cocaine, ketamine, GHB, prescription drugs and cannabis, often mixed with alcohol. Their needs are just not being met in many commissioned services, which is why Help Me Stop pioneered a new kind of affordable, intensive drug and alcohol rehab, delivered by highly skilled addiction therapists in non-residential settings (London, Winchester and online)."

Hampshire Chronicle: L to R: Cllr Martin Tod, Leader of Winchester Council; Professor Dame Carol Black

In London alone, 23kg of cocaine is used every day, more than the combined quantities in Berlin, Amsterdam and Barcelona.

"Cocaine users overload our hospitals, as well as fuelling the growing drug trafficking trade and organised crime," he added.

"In 2020, 777 deaths in England and Wales involved cocaine, up almost 10 per cent from 2019, and up more than five times since 144 deaths in 2010. In a police operation of just one week in March 2022, Hampshire Constabulary seized £24,800 of powder cocaine, which gives an indication of significant demand."

Mr Brine said: "I’m very hopeful about the opportunity we have to solve another vital piece of the drug treatment puzzle locally. The Help Me Stop programme offers a new model of accessible and affordable drug treatment for people who are being significantly harmed by drugs including powder cocaine, cannabis, prescription drugs, as well as alcohol. It’s part of the solution to bridge the wide gap between good local service provision targeted mainly at heroin and crack cocaine users, and expensive private rehab programmes that only a small minority can afford or access due to parenting, work commitments, or financial constraints. By opening up the treatment programme to Trinity clients who are ready for abstinence, there’s also real innovation going on to provide a route into long-term sustainable recovery for adults who have faced the very significant challenges of homelessness, vulnerability and addiction."

Hampshire Chronicle: L to R: Terry Norton, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, Hampshire & IOW; Chief Inspector Jon Turton, District Commander for Winchester; Professor Dame Carol Black

Chief executive of Trinity Winchester Sue McKenna said: "Trinity are delighted to welcome Help Me Stop to their premises in Winchester. It fits in perfectly with our strategy, which is to help long-term clients who are seeking abstinence-based recovery from drugs and alcohol, within a therapeutic setting."

Help Me Stop Winchester is based at Trinity Winchester, Bradbury House, Durngate – a short walk from Winchester train station and town centre. Call 01962 217 090 or email enquiries@helpmestop.org.uk to speak in confidence to a specialist addiction treatment advisor about affordable alcohol or drug rehab.

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