Swindon has the drug problems of a city

This Is Wiltshire: Members of the Inclusion Drug Service in Swindon, from left, Bram Tout, service manager, peer mentors Darren Jones and Brian Beattie, and recovery worker Charlie Smith Members of the Inclusion Drug Service in Swindon, from left, Bram Tout, service manager, peer mentors Darren Jones and Brian Beattie, and recovery worker Charlie Smith

“IN TERMS of the extent of drug issues, Swindon is a town with inner city problems.”

When Bram Tout, service manager for Inclusion Drug Service, based in Victoria Road, first arrived in Swindon six years ago he found a town whose drug users were afflicted with extreme abuse habits.

“I would say some of the experiences with the type of drugs people took and the way they took them were more typical of an inner city problem area than somewhere the size of Swindon,” he said.

“One example would be the recent trend we saw with legal highs. It is a tight-knit community and word of a new drug or how to use it gets around quickly.

“There were even people who were using to the level of injecting the drugs into their groin or neck, because the veins in their arms had broken down. This means they had been users for a long time.”

But Mr Tout says there has been a shift in attitude from simply getting people on to prescription substitutes such as methadone to freeing them from the trap of substance addiction altogether, and that this has seen the service go from strength to strength.

While the referral rate has remained steady over the last couple of years, with between 500 and 550 people in treatment at any one time, the number of people who have successfully completed the programme and could call themselves drug-free has tripled from around 30 per year to 90 last year.

And while staying off drugs can often be the most difficult part, Inclusion has recorded an eight per cent re-presentation rate, which is well below the national average of 15 per cent.

“Now the focus has changed from getting people off street drugs on to a substitute to complete abstinence, we have seen a marked difference.

“Also what we have tried to do is grow a recovery community – a community within the community if you like. With peer mentors who have been through the treatment and are now abstinent, there is someone there who can walk them through it.

“Having that person who you can trust, especially in a moment of panic where everything can go out the window, can be the difference between staying abstinent and a relapse.”

Like any NHS service, the call to reduce waiting times also exists, with the recommended period for a appointment after contact being three weeks – Inclusion has an average turnaround of six days. Mr Tout said that this was crucial in achieving the service’s recent successes.

“It is vital you catch them as close to the point of their decision to get help,” he said.

“For a lot of people making that decision it is based on a moment of crisis – something that says ‘I cannot do this anymore’.

“It could be they have been arrested in a raid, have gone to court or have had family or personal problems. We have to get in there as soon as there is that chance to do something.

“When I came to Swindon six years ago there was an average waiting time of 18 weeks and by then it could be too late and the moment might have gone.”

To contact Inclusion call 01793 610133 or visit the office at 47 Victoria Road.

Comments (10)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

9:26am Wed 26 Sep 12

swindondad says...

It should be of no supprise to anybody that Swindon has the problems of a city. With a population (according to the 2011 census) of over 209,000 it is a city in all but name.
It should be of no supprise to anybody that Swindon has the problems of a city. With a population (according to the 2011 census) of over 209,000 it is a city in all but name. swindondad
  • Score: 0

11:16am Wed 26 Sep 12

jamos01 says...

Why dont the old bill with they're fancy ANPR kits design a programe to read out of town plates & make those a priority search offender recognition subject that way it would break down alot more freeloading out of towners? just a thought that could actually work?
Why dont the old bill with they're fancy ANPR kits design a programe to read out of town plates & make those a priority search offender recognition subject that way it would break down alot more freeloading out of towners? just a thought that could actually work? jamos01
  • Score: 0

11:17am Wed 26 Sep 12

jamos01 says...

oh and i love the picture fellaz! nuff love inclusion!
oh and i love the picture fellaz! nuff love inclusion! jamos01
  • Score: 0

12:32pm Wed 26 Sep 12

PaulD says...

so is this our latest city status bid?
so is this our latest city status bid? PaulD
  • Score: 0

12:53pm Wed 26 Sep 12

Angry Swindon says...

“When I came to Swindon six years ago" There you go, if you looked at the drug history of Swindon it has had a serious drug problem for many more years than this gentleman has been here. Injection of drugs has been happening for 20+ so how is this news, all evening advertiser has to do is check their OWN archives. We had a smaller population 20 years ago than today.

Please, please be journalists, and not mouth pieces for others.
“When I came to Swindon six years ago" There you go, if you looked at the drug history of Swindon it has had a serious drug problem for many more years than this gentleman has been here. Injection of drugs has been happening for 20+ so how is this news, all evening advertiser has to do is check their OWN archives. We had a smaller population 20 years ago than today. Please, please be journalists, and not mouth pieces for others. Angry Swindon
  • Score: 0

12:56pm Wed 26 Sep 12

Angry Swindon says...

any town city or village by the way. Look outside of swindon too. There is news outside the town to back up the facts. GOOGLE
any town city or village by the way. Look outside of swindon too. There is news outside the town to back up the facts. GOOGLE Angry Swindon
  • Score: 0

4:50pm Wed 26 Sep 12

Mystery Mike says...

jamos01 wrote:
Why dont the old bill with they're fancy ANPR kits design a programe to read out of town plates & make those a priority search offender recognition subject that way it would break down alot more freeloading out of towners? just a thought that could actually work?
Are you commenting on the right post?
[quote][p][bold]jamos01[/bold] wrote: Why dont the old bill with they're fancy ANPR kits design a programe to read out of town plates & make those a priority search offender recognition subject that way it would break down alot more freeloading out of towners? just a thought that could actually work?[/p][/quote]Are you commenting on the right post? Mystery Mike
  • Score: 0

9:11am Thu 27 Sep 12

Ringer says...

The illegal drugs industry is made possible due to unduly lenient sentencing by our judges.

The sentencing guidelines actually provide very good maximum sentences for the related crimes but, sadly, the judiciary tend to engage in a 'race to the bottom' when it comes to the eventual sentences they hand out.

When criminals know they have nothing to fear from courts or prison, the money that can be made from the illegal drugs trade becomes far more attractive.

In essence, the drugs trade continues to flourish because the downsides of being caught come nowhere close to outweighing the advantages of committing the crimes.

Until that changes, expect more people to take illegal drugs. It's really not a difficult equation.

It's the police I feel sorry for, spending their time, energy, resources and putting their lives on the line to arrest criminals who the cosseted and out of touch judiciary then allow to walk free, or enjoy very lenient, short sentences.

I also feel sorry for the communities that are forced to have their lives blighted due to the misguided inaction of the judiciary - the very people who are supposed to make a difference and protect them.
The illegal drugs industry is made possible due to unduly lenient sentencing by our judges. [p] The sentencing guidelines actually provide very good maximum sentences for the related crimes but, sadly, the judiciary tend to engage in a 'race to the bottom' when it comes to the eventual sentences they hand out. [p] When criminals know they have nothing to fear from courts or prison, the money that can be made from the illegal drugs trade becomes far more attractive. [p] In essence, the drugs trade continues to flourish because the downsides of being caught come nowhere close to outweighing the advantages of committing the crimes. [p] Until that changes, expect more people to take illegal drugs. It's really not a difficult equation. [p] It's the police I feel sorry for, spending their time, energy, resources and putting their lives on the line to arrest criminals who the cosseted and out of touch judiciary then allow to walk free, or enjoy very lenient, short sentences. [p] I also feel sorry for the communities that are forced to have their lives blighted due to the misguided inaction of the judiciary - the very people who are supposed to make a difference and protect them. Ringer
  • Score: 0

10:06am Thu 27 Sep 12

AngeredMum says...

Inclusion does a fantastic job with the clients it sees, there are not many issues which they are not willing to assist clients with IF the client engages in all aspects of treatment. Inclusio are doing a very good job at fighting against the huge grip that heroin and other drugs have on this town and helping clients to rebuild their lives. Keep it up guys :)
Inclusion does a fantastic job with the clients it sees, there are not many issues which they are not willing to assist clients with IF the client engages in all aspects of treatment. Inclusio are doing a very good job at fighting against the huge grip that heroin and other drugs have on this town and helping clients to rebuild their lives. Keep it up guys :) AngeredMum
  • Score: 0

12:10pm Thu 27 Sep 12

Ringer says...

@AngeredMum: what happens to the drug addicts who refuse to engage with Inclusion?
@AngeredMum: what happens to the drug addicts who refuse to engage with Inclusion? Ringer
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree