Drug Intervention Programme (DIP)
Through supporting the Drug Intervention Programme (DIP) in Dorset, the PCC is helping to provide much needed intervention to those addicted to drugs and alcohol and, as a result, ensuring crime reduction across the county.
DIP works with anyone over the age of 18 whose criminal activity is linked to their drug abuse, or who has been involved with the criminal justice system. It brings together a number of agencies to provide tailored treatment for offenders with drug problems.
In Dorset alone there is estimated to be nearly 4,000 opiate and crack users. Funding such a habit is extremely costly and national evidence shows the average heroin user spends £1,400 per month on drugs. This money is often gained through acquisitive crime such as burglary, robbery and shoplifting and the National Treatment for Substance Misuse run by the NHS has found that the average heroin user not in treatment commits £26,074 worth of crime each year. Through intervention programmes, DIP aims to break the cycle of drugs and crime, not only reducing the harm and risk associated with addiction for the individual, but for the wider community.
Although there are many treatment services available to those who struggle with addiction, DIP has staff that are trained to work with addicts who have a criminal past, to ensure they have the best support available to them, thus reducing the chances of them reoffending.
The outreach teams identify individuals who may benefit from intervention through their two teams which focus on the police custody suites, ensuring that substance abusers who come into the suites are briefly assessed and offered an appropriate level of advice or are referred to other services. The outreach team also works with other services where people with addiction may be in the criminal justice system, such as prisons and courts. Intervention here tries to divert offenders out of the criminal justice system and into an effective treatment programme, with the intention of reducing the chance of reoffending.
One such programme is a Drug Rehabilitation Requirement (DRR), which DIP helps oversee. DRR is part of a community sentence and an alternative to prison. Here, addicts are supervised and supported. Whilst taking in the seriousness of their offence, the DRR can be tailored to the individual’s needs. Attendees are tested regularly to monitor their drug use and their treatment may involve different aspects, such as counselling, substitute prescribing or attending a day centre.
In 2015, DIP received 244 referrals, 155 of whom went on to start psychosocial and/or prescribing treatment. 50% of those who started treatment have been successful in their treatment on leaving the service. These 78 left the service as a drug free or occasional user (not class A).
Case Study: Jon
At 37, Jon had been addicted to drugs for nearly 20 years. His use started with cannabis but soon escalated into other drugs. To fund his habit, Jon would steal and soon found himself in a dangerous cycle, which he thought he would never get out of.
Turning Point (one of the DIP services) staff met with Jon in a hostel he was released to two days after serving 6 years in prison for dealing heroin. When they met Jon, he was initially very cynical and distrustful due to his past experience with other rehabilitation services, but he had reached a point in his life where he was determined to give up drugs for good and so started regularly attending group sessions and psychosocial one-to-one support sessions.
Jon was very honest about his relapse, which happened early on his treatment, but said he didn’t feel judged and so was happy and strong enough to continue his treatment.
Jon left treatment 18 months ago but continues to keep in contact with Turning Point and has been invited to participate in interview panels for staff being recruited. He now lives with his partner (who does not have a history of substance misuse), who he met whilst in treatment and they have a baby together. He struggles with health problems but remains positive about his future. When he left Turning Point, he began voluntary work and has since found a full time paid job in hospitality, started work as a kitchen porter, was promoted to chef and, more recently, a Team Leader.
Jon said: “I know a lot of people are judgemental about my past, but I have to do the best I can to start again. I can’t say enough how being listened to has helped”.
Find out more about the Drug Intervention Programme and the work they do.