Drug and drink groups under one roof take next step to merge their services

Dave Dempster (left) and Jim Bett, service managers of FCDS and FAAS, which are joining together as one. Pic: FPA
Dave Dempster (left) and Jim Bett, service managers of FCDS and FAAS, which are joining together as one. Pic: FPA

Pooling the resources of Fife Alcohol Advisory Service (FAAS) and Fife Community Drugs Service (FCDS) will allow them both to improve and grow.

After three years of working closely together under the one roof, both organisations have decided to join as one, while continuing to offer the comprehensive alcohol and drugs help and advice as before.

And this will include developing new structures and training staff to offer help on new “trends” such as psycho active substances or legal highs, which are readily available in shops and online.

Jim Bett, service manager with FAAS, said the move to amalgamate the services had come about as a natural progression of both.

“We have been doing a lot of work with them for some years and we have grown closer together, so this seemed the right thing to do,” he explained.

“We did a full consultation with both boards of directors, staff, volunteers and clients, as well as the regulatory bodies which look after us, and everyone agreed it was a good move.

“We will continue to offer the services we have been, and this will give us more scope to pool resources and develop new and improved ones.

“For the present, we will continue to use the FAAS name, because it was very clear from the survey of our clients that the general population of alcohol users are very amenable to coming to an alcohol help service, but they are a bit more wary of coming to a drugs service.

“We will decide whether or not to change our name in due course.”

FAAS has dealt with around 800 clients up until March this year, offering services including one-to-one counselling and group work.

FCDS dealt with several hundred people, carrying out assessment work to help find the correct services to meet their needs.

It offers services to people at risk of, or experiencing, problem drug use, and/or sexual health problems.

“We have lots of dedicated and long-serving staff and volunteers, and one of the things we are keen to do is develop them,” added Jim.

“We are particularly keen to look at services for people who use legal highs, as we are getting more and more referrals from people using common household products in ways they were not intended to be used.

“We think this is something that is going to be a very serious problem in the future and its things like this that we want to develop our staff training to deal with.

“Coming together like this will enable us to develop our services in these new and growing areas of concern.

“We hope, with the combination of our skills and experience, to start developing an agency that is flexible and capable of meeting the needs of the people of Fife.”