Case Studies: Drugs Helpline
Case Study 1
Jack (33 years old)
Jack contacted the Release drugs helpline as he was having problems with his local services. He had made a request to be prescribed Subutex (buprenorphine) instead of methadone as he had found that it had worked well for him in the past. Jack also advised that if he used methadone it resulted in him using on top, this in turn would lead to crack and alcohol binges. He was in his early 30’s and had used hard drugs since his mid teens and had a history of prolific offending.
The local service refused his request and gave several reasons for their refusal including issues around dosages. After contacting the service it became apparent another reason was the cost implications — the caller was not involved with criminal justice services and no extra funding was available for Subutex via other funding routes. A Release drugs advisor contacted the local service but was unable to find a resolution to the matter. Another service in Jack’s catchment area was contacted on his behalf and, after listening to the case, agreed to prescribe Subutex.
Jack believes not only did this allow him to save his ailing relationship with his partner but, also, prevented him turning to crime in order to get the treatment he wanted. Eventually, his heroin and crack use stopped and he received assistance with his alcohol issues. He is now stable and still with his partner - he has also referred others to the helpline for advice, assistance and advocacy.
Case Study 2
Gina (18 years old)
Gina’s mother contacted us for advice. Gina was having problems with a community rehabilitation order due to dual diagnosis issues. She was selling sex for crack and placing herself at great risk. Having drifted out of youth services, she had slipped through the net and not been tracked down by local services. Gina was absent from home and falling into a mental health crisis exacerbated by a series of critical episodes where the emergency services were called.
Having heard from Gina herself and gaining authorisation for us to assist her, we obtained further information about the recent series of events and we were able to present a strong case to local services for an enhanced care intervention. After numerous attempts to keep personal contact with Gina through her most chaotic phase, we gradually gained her trust. She became scared by the reality of the life she was living. She built up a bond with a Release advisor and trusted him to set up appointments with professionals who were provided with an accurate recent case history.
Gina subsequently received medication from a local service and her community order was ended following our interaction with local specialist psychiatric services. She returned to live with her mother and, amazingly, within two months was in part time work and applying to return to education.