Drug and alcohol FAQs

Photo: Person writing on notepad

These are some of the commonly asked questions relating to drug and alcohol services.

Treatment normally begins with a triage assessment. This usually lasts from 1 to 1.5 hrs. During this appointment a brief history of your drug and alcohol use will be taken. As we look at someone in the context of their whole life we will also ask a range of questions about your relationships, family, living situation, employment, finances, physical and mental health and involvement with other organisations.

There will be time in the assessment to ask the Recovery Coordinator for immediate advice regarding the risks associated with your drinking and/or drug use. You will also have the opportunity to ask about what support may be available to help you make changes to your drug or alcohol use.

Please bring a list of any medications you are currently using/being prescribed. It is also important that you bring details about your drug and/or alcohol use with you as you will be asked questions about this. For some people it is useful for them to keep a daily record of their drug/alcohol use in the time leading up to their assessment and to bring this with them.

Following your assessment, a decision will be made with you and the whole team about what role we may play in your recovery journey.

If following your triage assessment, you make a plan to include some of the services we offer on your recovery plan then you will be allocated a named Recovery Coordinator. This will be your named worker within the service. They will work with you to develop your recovery plan and help you access other services to help you with this. You may see other staff from our service as part of your journey but your Recovery Coordinator will be your own named individual care co-ordinator.

A Peer Supporter is available to anyone using the services at Walnut Lodge. They are a person with ‘lived’ experience. They can help you in a variety of ways such as in developing your recovery plan, supporting you in engaging in recovery activities or even through sharing their own experiences to help you. We would strongly recommend that you make use of your Peer Supporter as part of your Recovery journey – they are a real asset.

This is the plan you will develop to help support you make the changes you want to, to your drug or alcohol use. Within our service we use a standard template for this but if you want to use your own then please feel free and share this with your Recovery Coordinator. This plan should include details of all the activities and tasks you might undertake to help you work towards your goals in reducing or stopping your use of alcohol or drugs.

For example, it might include details of how you will get support from people, who will these people be? It might include information in relation to how you spend your time or training or employment. It might include any medical interventions you might be considering such as substitute prescribing or medicated detoxes.

Part of the role of your Recovery Coordinator will be to encourage you to look at this plan and make it as realistic as possible for you to succeed. In some instances, this may mean they challenge you about things that have or haven’t worked for you in the past.

Your Recovery Coordinator will also highlight any risks to you or others associated with your drug and alcohol use.

We all know that forms can feel like a burden. Please be assured that wherever possible we work to reduce the amount of bureaucracy you have to get through. However due to legislation and maintaining high levels of clinical practice there will be forms we need to go through with you. If you are ever unsure of the purpose or content of any of the forms you are given please ask your Recovery Coordinator to provide more information to you.

Also, some of the data we collect about you on our forms is used to calculate funding for the service, and so by allowing us to collect this information, you will be helping ensure that the service continues to receive the right level of funding to continue to support other people with drug and alcohol problems.

Not necessarily. You will only need to see one of our doctors or nurse specialists if you are interested in a prescribed intervention as part of your Recovery Journey – this might be for substitute medication or a medicated detox. Your Recovery Coordinator will be able to discuss all of these options with you to enable you to make a plan.

We only ever use or pass on information about you if there is a genuine need to do so. We are committed to sharing only that information that is necessary to allow you to receive suitable support from ourselves and from others including your GP. The Law strictly controls the sharing of some types of information and we require your consent in order to allow us to share information. Under exceptional circumstances it may be necessary for us to share information with others without your consent. These exceptional circumstances will be explained to you.

If you have any concerns about how information about you will be used by us then please speak to a member of staff for more details and clarification.

A Family & Friends Support Worker is available to anyone who is affected by someone else’s use of drugs or alcohol. They are able to offer 1:1 appointments, support and advice, telephone advice and support groups.

Please contact the Family & Friends Support Worker on 07966 326849.

There are a wide range of services and activities available in Torbay that can support you in your recovery or in just making even small changes to your drug or alcohol use. Contact Walnut Lodge on 01803 604330 for an up to date newsletter of all local recovery activities.

You can also contact the Service User and Recovery lead at Walnut Lodge on 01803 604330.