Since 1986 Surrey Drug and Alcohol Care has been providing invaluable support to drug and alcohol users, and their concerned friends and relatives, throughout the county.
With substance abuse in the UK rapidly on the rise, we are proud to have recently awarded £16,000 for this charity’s Telephone Counselling Service, making a vital difference to users struggling within Surrey. Director, Andrew Hodges, explains how.
Surrey Drug and Alcohol Care (SDAC) aim to identify and raise awareness of the risks associated with drugs and alcohol and to provide information and contact details of services. Young people are often deeply affected by the drug and alcohol habits within their own circle of family and friends. We also help adult community associations in Surrey with similar education and information.
Our telephone helpline is open to anyone in the country and we can direct callers to their local services if needed. They may be users, concerned family members or friends of those that use. For residents within the Surrey area, we can offer referrals into professional treatment services and our Telephone Counselling Service (TCS). Calls from those affected by alcohol dependency in Surrey form the largest number of calls to the line.
The TCS comprises of a team of professional British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy accredited staff. This free service offers clients a 6 to 12 session programme of counselling. The service was operated initially as a pilot in 2010 and now provides support to between 500 and 600 clients a year who are affected by their own or somebody else’s substance abuse. Clients for TCS often include those who are deemed hard to reach, due to disabilities, non-attendance at walk in services, people without access to suitable transport, those with child care issues or high-profile users.
M, a 22-year-old male had used cannabis significantly more following a serious car crash, in which he had been badly injured. It helped him cope with the pain and he was now smoking on a daily basis. The way cannabis was affecting his life was worrying him. M called SDAC and told the advisor that he was having difficulty cutting back. Encouragement and support was given and he chose to receive further help by telephone.
M was offered a course of 12 free counselling sessions, where the counsellor worked with him to enable positive coping mechanisms and explore practical strategies to reduce his use. By the end of the sessions M’s use of cannabis had reduced and he felt more in control. M was contacted 3 months later and he was doing well. He knew he could call SDAC again and get more support if needed.
While the services we provide are free to clients, there is a cost. We have a grant from the County Council but also greatly rely on donations. We have been particularly grateful to the Community Foundation for Surrey in their grant awards to us, which have enabled us to maintain a full service and reach more potential clients.
Our volunteers are the backbone of the charity. They are essential in order that we can provide a 24 hour, 365 day a year service, recognised in 2011 when we were delighted to receive The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, which acknowledges the vitally important work that our helpline volunteers do on a daily basis. Our volunteers come from a wide cross section of society and serve on the helpline for varied reasons, all with a view to helping those in need of support confidentially.