Addicts in Derbyshire need more support

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People in Derbyshire who are suffering from drug and alcohol misuse issues have struggled to access appropriate mental health treatment, according to a patient watchdog.

Healthwatch Derbyshire, which represents the views of the public on health and social care provision across the county, says more needs to be done to help people with substance misuse problems.has published.

The organisation has produced a detailed report highlighting the experiences of individuals when accessing health and social care services in Derbyshire. It worked with community recovery services and drug treatment centres in Chesterfield, Shirebrook, Ripley, Ilkeston, Long Eaton and Swadlincote to set up interviews and focus groups with 59 people who were either dependant on drugs, alcohol or prescription drugs as well as 15 carers and 15 health and social care professionals

A particular issue facing people with substance misuse issues was accessing the right mental health treatment.

The report highlights that the majority of people had turned to substance misuse because of their mental health and others then went onto develop mental health problems.

Many individuals however reported that they found it difficult to access the full range of mental health services in the county.

Further issues with the waiting room environment, flexibility of appointments for those who work and the complaints systems at drug treatment centres in the county were also highlighted.

These have been raised with providers and commissioners of services in the county. who have responded on how improvements have already been achieved or are planned for the near future.

There was however praise from those interviewed for community support organisations as well as, in the main, for pharmacies, East Midlands Ambulance Services and dental services.

Healthwatch Derbyshire chief executive officer Karen Ritchie said: “Drug and alcohol misuse is an issue for some of the most vulnerable people in society, including homeless people, those with mental health issues, LGBT+ and children of substance misusing parents.

“It’s really important that these people have a voice.”