Novas Community Detox Evaluation will help addicts

Christmas Sleep-Out and Carol Service in Aid of Novas Services

Rory Keane, Regional Drugs Coordinator, HSE, Deputy Maurice Quinlivan, Minister for Communities and National Drugs Strategy, Catherine Byrne. Michael Goulding, Novas CEO. Mick Lacey, Chair Mid West Regional Drug and Alcohol Forum and Gearoid Prendergast, Coordinator Mid-West Regional Drug and Alcohol Forum.  Novas Community Detox.

Minster of State with responsibility for Communities and National Drugs Strategy, Catherine Byrne, launched Novas Community Detox Evaluation in the Absolute Hotel, Limerick this Thursday, September 15.

The independent evaluation, conducted by Dr. Ronnie Greenwood, Dept. of Psychology, UL, found the service to be the ‘gold standard’ for delivering community detox with immense benefits to clients throughout the Mid-West region.

The service, which is funded by the Mid-West Regional Drug and Alcohol Forum, is part of a nationwide programme supported by the HSE and the Irish College of General Practitioners. It was developed to assist people wishing to access safer outpatient detoxification from benzodiazepines and/or methadone. It serves Limerick City and County, North Tipperary and County Clare, with one stakeholder in the evaluation noting it’s “fantastic that such a small services make such a large contribution to this sprawling geographical region”.

Established in May 2012, the Novas Community Detox Evaluation service has received the highest number of referrals in the country, with 335 referrals in the three years to June 2015 (when the evaluation began).  The service is run in conjunction with clients’ GPs and community-based partner agencies. Novas support workers provide emotional and practical support, and concerns regarding relapse and overdose are addressed through individual care plans tailored to each client’s need. GPs working in partnership with the service noted that they were ‘empowered’ by the experience and they ‘trust, respect and rely upon the Novas team to provide essential support, to reduce risk and support clients through detox.’

Novas Community Detox

The Novas Community Detox Evaluation currently comprises of a part-time manager and two part-time staff covering the entire Mid-West region. A key recommendation of the evaluation is to increase resources and staffing levels so Novas can broaden its target population to include individuals seeking to detox from substances other than benzodiazepines and methadone.

Anne Cronin, Head of Service with Novas noted how “heartened” the organization was by the findings of the evaluation and how they were committed to extending “the protocols to include alcohol and codeine detox.” She said “it is essential that we now pursue the recommendations of the report in conjunction with our partners”.

Minister Catherine Byrne considers Novas Community Detox as a ‘very positive example’ of treating addiction ‘as a health issue’. She noted the ‘huge gaps in aftercare’ once people leave treatment and committed to bridging these gaps. She went on to say that people from the Mid-West of Ireland should be able to access support services in their region, something she ‘is committed to’ as long as she holds the position of Minister for Communities and National Drugs Strategy.

Novas set up its first service in Ireland in 2002. Funded by the HSE and the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government it provides services for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Working with families, children and single adults who are disadvantaged or socially excluded, it offers client centred services and promotes social justice. It provides services in Limerick, Dublin, Kerry, Tipperary, Clare and Cork.

Read more about Novas and how you can get involved here.

Follow Novas on Twitter here.

Check out The Novas Community Detox Evaluation here.

Read more about the HSE here.

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