Barriers or Bridges? Drugs Rehabilitation Projects – the Road to Recovery 2014
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The Citywide consultation report shows major challenges now being faced by Community Drugs Rehabilitation Projects (DRPs) in maintaining their crucial work with recovering drug users.
Changes introduced to Community Employment to increase its focus on labour market activation have not taken in to account the distinct role of DRPs (or Special CEs) that is different to mainstream CE.
Many DRPs are experiencing difficulties in recruiting participants because of the changes – this has a knock on effect on their level of resourcing as there is a reduction in budgets if projects do not maintain the number of participants at the approved level.
As DRPs are the main providers of rehabilitation programmes for people in recovery from drug use (and in some communities, the only provider) the report highlights concerns that there are no alternative rehabilitation options available to the lone parents and people on disability who are no longer participating. Their need for support in recovery from drug use is still there but the need is not now being met.
At the same time DRPs are now dealing with a more diverse profile of participants and less stable drug use and as a result there is an urgent need for existing programmes to be adapted and new programmes need to be developed. This is extraordinarily difficult at a time when resources are reducing from all funders.
In launching its consultation report Citywide called on Government to address the additional barriers to participation that have been introduced since 2012, and to support the development of appropriate programmes for new groups of drug users. This should be done through a review of DRPs based on their role as a core element of the rehabilitation pillar of the National Drugs Strategy and aimed at supporting the capacity of drug projects to effectively deliver drugs rehabilitation programmes in our communities.