GIVING people a “holistic” rehab programme is key to helping address alcohol and drug addiction and tackle related issues like offending, a recovery service director has said.

The Glasgow Times has been investigating the link between alcohol and crime highlighting the high number of cases in the city where alcohol is a factor.

Glasgow Times:

Vic Walker, director of adult care services at Crossreach, a residential rehab in the west of the city, said it is a long-term commitment.

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Mr Walker said newly announced Scottish Government funding in the service is “investing in what works, doing more of what works”.

Crossreach offers residential rehab of three months for people to come in and detox off alcohol or drugs.”

He said it offers “time to think why they do what they do”.

The charity has been given £360,000 over three years to enhance the aftercare service.

Mr Walker said alcohol addiction accounts for around one in three of their clients.

He said: “Having purely an alcohol addiction is not uncommon maybe one-third of our people are alcohol only. Others alcohol and drugs.

“What is the underlying problem? It is often suppressing trauma.  We look more deeply into the underlying issues.

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“We have a holistic plan that looks at 10 areas of life  which includes housing and the justice system and asks what would you like to change?”

He said offending as a result of alcohol can be something with a lasting effect on someone’s life as they move forward with their recovery.

Mr Walker said: “A criminal record would be a barrier to getting work.”

However, he said it can be overcome.

He added: “If you stop taking drugs or alcohol the offending behaviour also stops.

“We would employ people with a previous criminal record.

“We would allow people to volunteer with us then give them a reference.

“We find employers are hesitant but if we, as part of the Church of Scotland, have taken them on and they have worked with us an employer will recognise that is a commitment.”

Glasgow Times:

Mr Walker was speaking as Christina McKelvie the Scottish Government drug and alcohol minister visited to speak to staff and service users.

She said services like Crossreach were key to “breaking the cycle” of addiction and offending.

Crossreach was one of 14 projects to receive a share of £3.6m from the Scottish Government.

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Ms McKelvie said the cash was a “very significant investment in developing residential rehabilitation services.

She said: “Increasing access, and improving these services is another key part of our National Mission and we’re well on our way to our target of increasing the number of statutory funded placements to 1000 by 2026.”

She added:  One of the things the new First Minister has decided is to put this portfolio (drugs and alcohol) firmly in the health portfolio.”

However, the minister said she would be working closely with Angela Constance the Justice Secretary on issues like prison rehab.

She added: “What I’m hearing from people I've met today is yes, that’s sometimes the situation they come from but the support they get in here becomes key in breaking that cycle.

 “And that’s what’s absolutely imperative here, that they get the right support in order to break the cycle they are in and therefore live a better life.

“I am hearing from people saying ‘I’m volunteering, I’m working in the service, I’ve managed to repair relationships in my family’.

“So, it’s not just about the interventions, the detox part medically, it’s all of those social issues that come from that as well.

And that’s where the investment here today, for Crossreach, aftercare becomes incredibly important.”

She said the aftercare to allow people to continue on the path to recovery is incredibly important.

The minister said the government was “well on the way to the 650-bed target” for residential rehab.

She said a range of interventions were required to ensure people had the best chance of recovery.

She added: “It’s not just the consumption room, it’s not just drug checking, it’s not just rehab, it’s not just aftercare, it’s not just counselling. It’s all of that that creates those connections those people need in order to live their best lives.”

On the funding announcement Ms McKelvie, said: “This funding and these projects are helping to save and improve lives across Scotland. It will support a wide range of initiatives, from rescuing vulnerable people from having their homes and lives taken over by drug-dealing ‘cuckooing’ gangs, to supporting outdoor recovery programmes and expanding recovery cafes.

“It also includes a very significant investment in developing residential rehabilitation services. Increasing access, and improving these services is another key part of our National Mission and we’re well on our way to our target of increasing the number of statutory funded placements to 1000 by 2026.”  

Glasgow Times:

Mr Walker reflected on the challenge people are undertaking when they sign up to a rehab programme.

He said there are people who have lived with an alcohol or drug addiction for more than 20 years.

He added: “It is a big change to go through and then go back out. And it is about keeping with it.

“We keep in touch with people when they leave. This will allow us to do that so much better.”