Drugs Policy (High Tolerance) 2011
After a lot of work, we are really pleased to bring you a revised
version of the Sample Drugs Policy. First published in 1996, the
Sample Drugs Policy has been through a number of revisions.Version
7 has been substantially revised, to include procedures for several
areas not previously addressed. The procedures have been clarified
and refined. There's a new opening section to explain how to develop
a drugs policy. And it's now in colour. This version is the "high
tolerance" model and is intended for organisations working
with ongoing use. It can be adapted for other settings but we will
shortly be adding further versions for other settings. This version
was produced with the help and support of Homeless Link. You can
download the Sample Drugs Policy here
v.4 is here
The Hostel Opiate Overdose Risk Assessment Tool (HOORAT) is now
in its fourth revision. Working with Homelesslink we reviewed the
document, made some minor ammendments to the screening part of the
tool, and substantially expanded the explanatory notes and methods
of implementing the tool. It's also been produced in a more attractive
You can download HOORAT 4 here
and KFx - Joint Working on Drugs and Homelessness
Homelesslink's Evictions and Abandonments Project got in touch with
KFx in recognition of the substantial proportion of evictions and
abandonments that are drug related. We are going to work together
on some projects, most notably the revision of some key documents.
This partnership gives us the resources to completely rewrite the
Sample Drugs Policy and other important resources.
The Evictions and Abandonments project is here
Crunch hits Shelter's Street Homeless Project
The Street Homeless Project, the team within Shelter which developed
and promoted Safe as Houses (along with many other interventions)
is being wound up. Due to severe funding constraints within Shelter,
cuts were being made and, sadly, the Street Homeless Project were
one of the areas that were on the receiving end of these cuts.
This website and the work promoted herein would not have taken place
without the support of the Street Homeless Project. Likewise, the
development and promotion of "eyes wide open" housing
for drug users received a massive boost thanks to the Street Homeless
Project's support and endorsement and they have helped take housing
from drug users on to the next level.
They have assisted this area of work massively, and this site is
indebted to them.
for Housing Provider for Innovative work with Drug Users
King Georges Hostel in
London, part of ECHG, were the recipients of two awards at the Chartered
Institute of Housing/Inside Housing Awards for Outstanding Achievement
In Housing (England) and Meeting the Needs of Vulnerable People.
King Georges are one of the growing number of housing providers
who have adopted and adapted the eyes wide open model
of housing provision that has been pioneered here for a number of
The Gateway Programme
at King Georges Hostel is a pioneering initiative to provide housing,
drugs education and harm reduction interventions to some of the
most vulnerable dependent drug users in housing need.
The Programme takes in
dependent drug users in housing need, provides housing in attend
education and awareness sessions on injecting, overdose, and blood
borne viruses. Despite the low level of obligations at admission,
residents have been engaging with a wide range of initiatives, including
Turning-Point provided drug treatment, nutrition and cooking programmes,
outdoors fitness sessions and football clubs. The take up of interventions
such as Hep b vaccinations is exemplary and despite the high-risk
client group drug deaths have been prevented.
For more information about the awards see here
Rough Sleepers by 2012?
The Department for Communities
and Local Government has announced its intention to reduce rough
sleeping to zero by 2012. Based on a current figure of 483 rough
sleepers (down from a baseline figure of 1850 in 1997) the decline
appeared to have stalled and this announcement appears intended
to reinvigorate the drive towards ending rough sleeping.
The Strategy "No-one
Left Out - Communities Ending Rough Sleeping" was released
on the 18th November 2008.
The initiative includes
homelessness prevention strategies such as rent-deposit schemes
and repossessions, but there is not a specific action point relating
to substance use despite the high levels of use amongst rough sleepers.
KFx resource released: Drug Use and Homelessness - Toolkit 1: Assessment
of local need.
This is a simple to read and easy to implement guide to fast and dirty
local needs assessment. It looks at different data sources, their
validity and how to use these and additional resources to gauge the
size of the local drug-using population. It is the first section of
a larger toolkit to be released over the coming months which will
provide practical and hands-on tools for developing housing provision
for drug users.
This document can be downloaded here
publishes "Improving Practice in Housing for Drug Misusers
- A Partnership Approach
In August 2008, a paper
entitled "Improving Practice in Housing for Drug Misusers"
was published. The paper focusses on 13 case studies, and looks
at strategies that work in housing drug users. The papers can be
downloaded from: http://drugs.homeoffice.gov.uk/publication-search/dip/improving-practice-housing/
There was also a seminar in Bristol on the 25th July 2008, but as
they forgot to either let Drugs and Housing Website know, or to
invite us we couldn't tell you about it in advance. The presentation
by the authors of the paper is here
Guidance on Housing Drug Users from Norfolk Drug and Alcohol Partnership
Norfolk DAP have published
a new document "Accommodating Substance Misusers: The Spectrum
of Possibility A Guide for Housing Providers"
The resource was produced by Norcas Consultancy.
The report looks at the scope for housing drug users at various
stages of change, from active ongoing, precontemplative users through
to those who are engaged in treatment or now abstinent.
From the early, unambiguous
assertion that "Drug legislation is not a barrier to providing
accommodation to people with drug/alcohol problems" the report
adopts a positive, confident tone and never retreats behind obfuscation.
The report is highly
innovative, and very accessible. It is an excellent piece of work
and represents an essential read on the subject. An URL for the
report or a direct download can be found in the
resources section or click on the image to the right.
Regional Drug Protocols: - new briefing from KFx
Several regions have
developled Regional Drug Protocols - guidance for local accommodation
providers as to how to manage drug use on site. These are generally
developed and agreed at a county or city level, and local providers
encouraged or instructed to sign up to the protocols.
We've seen and reviewed a number of them, and it's highly likely
that more will be developed. We are keen to see the best aspects
of them reproduced, and the worst aspects discontinued. So KFx produced
a guidance document on the benefits and pitfalls of developing a
As with other KFx materials it's available as a free download in
section or by clicking HERE.
The guidance document
is a 'stage 2' draft. Stage 1 had a limited circulation, to gain
feedback from a small number of colleagues. The Stage 2 draft is
for general circulation, but we actively want and need people to
offer constructive feedback. So if you read and use the document
please get in touch, either via the forum or by direct email and
offer some feedback so a finalised version can be produced.
Lastly, no funding was received to develop this document, so if
you do use it and find it helpful, please consider making a donation
to KFx to assist in developing future resources. Or how about paying
for an advert on the website. Get in touch to find out how.
Break - new report and toolkit from Homelesslink
Homelesslink worked with
Tribal Consulting to look at the housing needs of drug users in
treatment. The resulting report "Clean Break" was initiated
in May 2005 and the report launched in 2007. The full report is
an excellent and thought-through document which is clear both on
its aims and the population on which it seeks to focus.
While the subtitle for
the report is "Integrated housing and care pathways for homeless
drug users," the study was not by its own admission focussed
on the "needs of those who do not wish to reduce their drug
use and who may be accesing harm reduction services."
This exclusion and wording
is perhaps unfortunate. The words "do not wish to reduce their
drug use" suggest that this is a matter of choice or personal
preference as opposed to recognising that change is a slow and gradual
process and people may wish to change but be unable or unready to
More pertinently, this
approach and focus excludes a significant population from the report's
ambit - excluding those who are most frequently excluded, most likely
to end up repeatedly rough sleeping and most likely to die as a
result of this.
There is absolutely no
problem in focussing on the housing needs of those engaging with
treatment and, to be fair "Clean Break" is explicit on
this focus at some points. But the risk is that by placing this
focus, emphasis is shifted away from all homeless drug users and
on to those who are engaged with structured treatment.
Break" recognises the need for a range of housing at a variety
of stages - from active, non-treatment engaged rough sleepers to
abstinent treatment leavers. But qualitiatively, the selective quotes
used veer away from this and look exclusively at the needs of the
fully engaged in treatment. So for example a selection of Service
User quotes were all about the need for "clean" accommodation.
Not a single quote from anyone who wasn't ready to stop but valued
being housed and kept safe.
This highly partisan
selection of quotes may well have reflected the way that interview
questions were framed: so for example, asking "how does where
you live impact on your efforts to reduce or end your drug/alcohol
use?" is a highly loaded and leading interview question especially
when supplemented by a prompt like "does who you live with
m ake a difference."
As a result the report
cited service users and workers keen on measures such as "really
strict rules" and "drug tests every week." Again,
while there is a place for such provision in the spectrum of housing,
it needs to be placed alongside other provision where those not
engaged with structured treatment could be housed.
It would be great to be able to wholly endorse "Clean Break,"
and it is a really valuable new resource for the field. But, and
it's a big but, the selective focus, quotes and service description
could end up acting to the detriment of drug users not engaged with
treatment. Already, the discussions about provision are becoming
polarised around "chaotic" users, being used as a slip-shod
slang for those not engaged with treatment and "users in treatment."
This is not a helpful polarisation.
We also really take issue with the ongoing use of "clean"
as a shorthand for abstinent or drug free. It is a constant source
of irritation and offense to many users and ex-users that this word
is used, with the sub-text, intended or otherwise that when using,
they are 'dirty.' The use of "clean" in the title and
throughout the text is unfortunate and ill-considered.
Clean Break can be downloaded
from the Homelesslink Website at: http://www.homeless.org.uk/cleanbreak
The associated toolkit,
some of which is in need of further attention, is at: http://toolkits.homeless.org.uk/cleanbreak
Office advisors - Storing Controlled Drugs not robustly Legal
- Legal changes in pipeline
- Acknowledgement of a need to act
LONG wait, but KFx finally got a "good" response from
the Home Office about Storage of Controlled Drugs from the Home
In January, KFx sent
a very long letter to the Home Office recapping the legal situation
as we understood it, the need for Home office action and the correspondence
to date. For those of you who want to read the letter, follow this
The reply that has now
been received is fairly good news (or bad news depending on your
It effectively agrees
that the arguments against the legality of storing Controlled
Drugs are well-founded. Home Office legal advice now agrees that
it is not robustly legal to do so and that arguments suggesting
rules on "conveying" or "administeiring" provided
a good safeguard were inadequate.
So the Home office now
agrees that legal change is required, is going to explore how to
do so, and put proposals before the ACMD.
They will want to know
the views of the field, and their will be a consultation period.
Updates on this will follow.
In the meantime, the
existing guidance in "On Storage" remains valid, but will
need to be updated to reflect the Home Office's new thinking on
To read the Home Office
response, please click here or paste the link: http://www.drugsandhousing.co.uk/ResponseT140787.pdf
It's been a long wait,
but maybe we'll finally see this annoying issue resolved!
If you have views about
how this issue should be progressed, or what models of implementation
you would like to see, please post them to the Forum or email them.
In order to achieve a
good, safe response for the field, we would propose a model that
looks something like this::
1) Misuse of Drugs Regulations
amended by use of Statutory Instruments to authorise possession
and distribution of Schedule 2,3,4 controlled drugs within certain
defined criteria. This would mean an expansion of the reference
to "Those having the written authority of the Home Secretary"
- to include those holding a "Notice of Authority."
2) Groups to whom the
authority should be extended to include schools, colleges, residential
services, youth provision, housing providers, day centres, drugs
agencies and others as required and specified by the Home Secretary.
3) The extension of the
authority will require the organisation to meet a series of requirements;
the local police and Pharmacy inspectorate will assess these.
a) That safe storage
facilities are put in place
b) That effective record keeping protocols are put in place
c) That handling and distribution of such drugs is restricted to
full-time, paid staff who have been trained to required standards,
and have completed any probationary periods of work
4) The Police and the
Pharmacy Inspectorate must be consulted, and the organisation should
comply with any recommendations made by the police regarding storage
5) Following such consultation,
the police and Pharm Inspectorate should have the power to issue
a "Notice of Authority" which would allow the organisation
to store such drugs for service users.
Kevin @ Kfx: may 2007
Community Report "Street Homelessness in Leeds"
added to RESOURCES:
The Leeds Simon Community
undertook research with the street homeless population in Leeds
and shed new light on factors contributing to and sustaining homelessness,
and the experience of homelessness amongst this population. The
report effectively drills down behind the "headcount"
figures, and reveals a larger population of people who are street
homeless who may not feature in this count but have complex needs,
poor health and experience multiple exclusions.
The report was produced with the assistance of Shelter, and can
be found in the Resources section or downloaded HERE.
and Housing Standards
added in RESOURCES
These standards were
developed originally as part of a conference presentation on what
housing providers could aspire to in working with drug users.
They have been developed
a little bit since then. They are intended to form an understandable,
user-friendly set of standards against which housing providers can
assess themselves and their provision. They are also intended to
help purchasers identify what housing providers should...and could...be
We are aware that some
Supporting People teams have been trying to identify standards and
criteria against which to assess housing providers. Some explored
requiring housing providers working with drug users to be DANOS
competent. But we do not feel that the DANOS standards as currently
laid out are accessible or especially tailored to for housing providers.
We also feared that the route to qualification would act as a disincentive
to working with drug users.
Instead, we think that the current Drugs and Housing Standards can
be used to establish the components of provision. We are aware that
some organisations are already using them, and hope more will do
They are a work in progress, and would benefit from additional fields
being added. We would welcome suggestions, criticisms or comments
about these standards.
Mr Peter Clare kindly submitted his thesis "The
Relationship Between Housing and Problematic Drug Use: A Study of
Three Areas in the North of England," for
inclusion on the website. This is a substantial piece of work, which
makes a significant contribution to unserstanding the relationship
between housing need and problematic drug use.
"This research builds upon two research traditions in housing
studies and drugs misuse. It aims to show connections between the
two that have previously attracted insufficient attention. It focuses
on problematic drug use rather than so-called 'recreational' use,
and outlines connections between certain housing forms and locations
and the use of drugs problematically.
To download the report
[331pp; 671kb; pdf] please click HERE
Policy - Flowcharts: 1.10.06
Following a number of
requests, we've compiled a series of flowcharts for dealing with
common drug-related situations. These include, possession, use,
intoxication, home visits, finding drugs or paraphernalia. The flowcharts
mesh with the Sample Drugs Policy and so are not aimed at organisations
working within a zero-tolerance model.
The slides were planned
in Powerpoint, but are presented here as Adobe PDF slides. Organisations
are welcome to use them as they stand or adapt them if they wish
to. To download the Flowcharts click HERE.
We would really welcome FEEDBACK,
in terms of additional flowcharts that would be useful, and to correct
or improve the flowcharts prepared to date.
New Report from Wallich Clifford:
Wallich Clifford Community have launched a new report: The Stigma
of Rural Homelessness in Wales.
The charity identified
a significant gap in available research exploring in detail the
extent and nature of rough sleeping in these rural counties and,
with funding from the Lloyds TSB Foundation for England and Wales,was
able to embark on a three-month research project with the following
1.To collect evidence of need for outreach projects in Ceredigion
and Carmarthenshire (this was extended to Pembrokeshire and Powys)
2.To provide a service for people living street-based lifestyles
3.To collect information about the needs of the client group and
work with the Local Authorities and service providers to develop
services that meet the
This report analyses
the evidence and information gathered during the period of research,and
looks in detail at the pattern of homelessness in these rural
areas. Individual case studies, gathered through firsthand information
given by over 130 homeless people, highlight specific issues that
The report is downloadable
and Housing Website Launched:
KFx is pleased to announce
the launch of the new Drugs and Housing Website. Thanks to the generous
support of Shelter, KFx have been able to create a new resource
for those engaged with housing need and drug use. The website includes
a resource centre hosting key documents related to drugs and housing,
and the UK's first dedicated forum for the subject.
and Housing is a KFx project. Click on the logo to the right to access
the main KFx website. Materials on this website are (c) KFx unless