Staffordshire drug/alcohol services update: June 2020
Wed 24 Jun 2020
1 Humankind STARS – Staffordshire Treatment and Recovery Service
1.1 The charity Humankind (humankindcharity.org.uk) took over all Staffordshire adult and YP drug/alcohol service contracts on April 1st, the new service is called STARS (T3 STARS for YPs).
1.2 While Humankind are responsible for all aspects of the service, some interventions will continue to be delivered by the Burton Addiction Centre (BAC - residential rehabilitation and associated services), who are a partner of Humankind within the STARS model, and the Edward Myers Unit (inpatient detoxification) from whom STARS purchases bed nights.
1.3 There have been some personnel changes and a new staffing model. However, the majority of the staff and operational managers worked for the previous provider. See below for basic contact details.
1.4 All buildings remain the same, except Fellgate Court in Newcastle has closed and staff there are now operating from the John O’Gaunt premises. A review of service locations is taking place during the first year of the contract.
1.5 STARS will operate the full range of evidence-based psycho-social and pharmacological interventions, including needle exchange, substitute medication, healthcare assessments, detox, 1-2-1 counselling, group programmes and access to peer support.
1.6 The new contract represents are more efficient use of resources that has enabled more community-based staff to be employed, and so the pathway should deliver improved quality and capacity when fully operational.
2 Impact of the coronavirus pandemic
2.1 Most STARS services are currently operating over the phone, although needle exchanges are still operating from the usual premises and pharmacies, and some clients can be seen by a keyworker or prescriber in some specific circumstances.
2.2 All emergency/ high risk cases will be triaged and access to treatment delivered promptly.
2.3 Changes have been made to the management of medications – clients in self-isolation can nominate someone to pick up prescriptions of their behalf in agreement with the pharmacy and STARS , (ID will be required by the pharmacy) while the amount of medication clients can receive on one prescription has been extended for many clients, in line with national recommendations.
2.4 There have been some delays in BT installing all necessary phone lines/ data cables. Landline numbers are not fully operating – although at least one number (see below) is in use in each building and all mobile phones are in use.
3 Possible risks to be aware of
3.1 The main risk associated with the change made because of the pandemic involve the storage of medications (primarily methadone and buprenorphine) in the home – which is potentially life-threatening to other family members. All clients with young children or vulnerable people in the home should have safe storage boxes for medications and social care staff will wish to assure themselves that medications cannot be accessed by children or other vulnerable family members. Safe storage boxes are available from the STARS service.
3.2 Similarly, there may be an increased risk of used needles and other injecting paraphernalia in the home. Clients should have sharps bins to avoid risks. These can be obtained from STARS. Services can provide larger amounts of clean equipment to avoid the client having to travel frequently.
3.3 Services strongly encourage clients to return used equipment in the sharps bins when they collect clean equipment. Staff visiting the clients’ homes should never attempt to collect used needles without the correct safety equipment but can encourage the client collect their own needles and put them into the safe storage bin.
3.4 Drug users may find it difficult to access their usual drug of choice – this could lead to the use of other drugs or less use, both of which could have a detrimental impact on mood and behaviour.
3.5 People may experience difficulties accessing alcohol – which increases the risk of life-threatening seizures – dependent drinkers should not stop or abruptly reduce consumption significantly.
3.6 Isolation, combined with the limited availability of treatment and associated services, may exacerbate existing drug/alcohol problems and related behaviours.
4 Contact details