Combine support for substance misuse with other services
If you are implementing a substance misuse support service, consider how best to link the service with other support services. Secure housing and mental health support are particularly beneficial. Establish personalised support programmes to provide help with transportation, health appointment, and advocacy to claim welfare benefits. This support will help service users find stability, engage more effectively and value substance misuse treatment.
Invest in maintaining a skilled workforce
Ensure that your team has the technical and interpersonal skills to work effectively with service users. All staff should have at least a basic understanding of the key principles of counselling and psychotherapy. Strong communication skills and a non-judgemental culture help build trust with service users. Low caseloads lead to better outcomes, given the high support needs of service users.
Partnerships are vital. Ensure participating agencies share clear statements of aims, leadership, and values. Facilitate collaboration by establishing formalised roles in contracting arrangements. Inter-agency meetings can be helpful in organising service users’ care and ensuring good relations between partners.
Adapt the programme to meet service users’ needs
Service users’ care needs will vary depending on their age, gender and cultural background, e.g. young people may need a more intensive support package and certain ethnicities may value more spiritual and holistic approaches. Ensure the service and staff are able to plan and respond accordingly.
Establish clear referral processes
Ensure referral routes and criteria are clear to all parties and appropriate to the resources available.