Getting Help

If you’re worried about your own or a friend or family member’s alcohol or other drug use, it’s important to know that help is available.

Treatment is available for free with the NHS throughout the UK. However, how long you have to wait depends on where you live.

Recognising that you/we have a problem is the first step on the road to recovery, one that takes tremendous courage and strength. Facing your/our addiction without minimising the problem or making excuses can feel frightening and overwhelming, but recovery is within reach. If you’re ready to make a change and willing to seek help, you can overcome your addiction and build a satisfying, life for yourself.

There’s a wide range of addiction services that can help. Some of these services are provided by the NHS, and some are specialist drug facilities run by charities and private organisations. Everyone has the same entitlement to care as anyone else suffering with any other health problem. With the right help and support, it’s possible for you to start your recovery journey.

Where to get help for drugs

There are 2 main ways you can choose to get into treatment – self referral or through your GP.

Self-referral – when you go straight to the treatment service to get help. Details of treatment services are available online, from your local NHS services. Find drug treatment services in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland.

Through your GP – Your GP will discuss your concerns, drug use and might offer to treat you or will refer you to your local specialist drug service.

Which ever option you choose – before treatment can start, you will discuss your concerns and drug use with your GP, health professional or trained substance use disorder worker. They will assess the nature of your problems and help you choose the most appropriate treatment options available.

If you are seen at your local drug treatment service, you will first be assessed and allocated a key worker. Who will work with you to assess the extent of your problem, look at treatment options, prepare a care plan. This care plan normally details your immediate and longer-term treatment goals and is intended to be updated throughout your time in treatment as your needs and circumstances change.

It should take no more than about 4 weeks from contacting the team to being accepted into a treatment programme and you should be offered your first appointment within a fortnight. Delays longer than this are possible, but if you are waiting for more than 4 weeks, contact a support organisation for advice and support.