Last month I went to a training given by service provider 722. They provide the adolescent drug and alcohol service for Waltham Forest. Reflecting on this training reminder of the pitfalls of being off the frontline and the need to maintain up to date knowledge of the issues that affect the populations with which I work or worked.
The trainer, though currently a service lead, has a background in social work. In addition to the information and reminders I received on drugs, I was struck by her insight and commitment to the population. In addition to not pushing the abstinence agenda (one which I do not whole heartedly agree with because it doesn’t fully take into account the need using a particular substance has for a person) she was clear about the fact that although the remit of her program stops at a certain age, she recognises a gap.
If I am not mistaken, the remit of the service ends at age 18. However, she recognised that there is a gap in the provision of substance misuse services from the 18-25 age range. It is in this age range that they begin to move into adult services which take a much different stance to treating substances. Most of the young people in this age range aren’t prepared for the intensity of the treatments adult services. There is a distinct difference between the delivery of services for adults and the delivery of services for young people and what struck me was the trainer’s stance on still accepting these young people because she recognises the need. I am always impressed by professionals who are willing to go above and beyond the call to respond to the needs of the community.
A referral to this service is done using the DUST – Drug Use Screening Tool. What I like and appreciate about this form is that you have to do it with the young person. What I appreciate about the service is they won’t accept referrals if they haven’t been done with the young person but they are also willing to consult professionals – in a three-way meeting with the young person if needed – in order to help. Sometimes, it isn’t just about making a referral. Sometimes talking to an expert can give you the tools and techniques necessary to work through issues with a client. What I also appreciate about the tools is it opens up the conversation so if the young person isn’t ready to engage, they start to think about their use and are made aware that help is available if they choose to accept it.
I appreciate talking to and working with professionals who are passionate about their work and looking to make a difference with their clients. What tools have you used or heard about? What do you like about them? How accessible are they?