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Drugs and alcohol use

Some of the issues professional face when working with people who use substances include overdose, relapse prevention, needle exchange, injecting and BBV (Blood Borne Viruses).

The risks of these issues involve transmission of viruses, sharing equipment, build up of tolerance, withdrawals and potential fatalities.

Here are some top tips to think about if working with individuals who experience some of these issues:

  • Identify what substance the person is / has been using
  • Depending on the nature / severity of the case,  contact local substance misuse services, their local GP and / or the emergency services
  • Use screening questions that encourage discussion about substance use, rather than seeking to screen out any drug and alcohol user from services or phrasing questions in such a way that the client may react defensively or lie
  • Use non-judgemental language
  • Initiate your own  core skills to develop a therapeutic relationship, to earn and garner trust with the individual
  • Identify what the individual would like to do and what help, if any, they would like to engage in, i.e. therapy, counselling, needle exchange, detox, rehabilitation, etc.