Volunteers needed for alcohol and drugs support charity

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A vital support service for people suffering from substance misuse problems is looking for more volunteers to continue its valuable work.

Fife Alcohol Support Service, which incorporates ADAPT Substance Recovery, the Community Drugs Service and the recently introduced Curnie Clubs for people experiencing isolation and loneliness, is offering top class training for people who have their basic COSCA training and want to take it to the next level.

Helen Hutton. Pic by George McLuskie

Helen Hutton. Pic by George McLuskie

Four of its sessional volunteers have moved on to other jobs and places and the service is now seeking to replace them.

Helen Hutton, outreach counselling co-ordinator, said: “Anyone with the COSCA basic training can apply to become a volunteer with us and they will receive up to two years supervised training with us, specialising in addiction services.

“They will be supervised during that period to help them develop their knowledge and skills in our outreach clinics and help them towards a possible career in counselling.”

FASS runs one Kirkcaldy outreach clinic a week, two in Dunfermline, one in Glenrothes and one in St Andrews.

It recently held its AGM when it reported that its core alcohol counselling service, which is available in health centres and hospitals around Fife as well as its outreach clinics and a home visiting service, had received 616 referrals during the last year, with the majority, 286 clients contacting the service directly and others referred by GPs, social work and other services.

The one-to-one counselling service is based on what the clients want to achieve, which could range from not consuming any alcohol to reducing their consumption or improving their psychological health and wellbeing.

Helen said: “I have worked at FASS since 2005 and the demand for our service is continuing to increase. We have seen an increase in clients addicted to prescription drugs and many of these have a co-dependency on alcohol. A big part of the problem is that these drugs are easily accessible, and people who started taking painkillers for a sore back can quickly become addicted to the medication.”

David Dempster, substance misuse manager, said: “There is certainly more crack cocaine around and the former “legal highs” which were made illegal last year have now just gone underground.

“We are also seeing more cross contamination of drugs which is a big concern.”

Donald Grieve, project manager for the FASS Curnie Clubs, social groups which were set up two years ago to combat social isolation, said: “People who are lonely or socially isolated can ofter turn to alcohol to combat it, and our groups can help to prevent that from happening.

“We are funded through the Big Lottery and there’s a lot of peer support.”

The Kirkcaldy club meets in the St Bryce Centre and the service is currently working with over 50 people around Fife.