Evaluation finds Novas’ Mid-West Community detox is the gold standard in supporting people with addiction in our Communities.
On the 14th September, Minster of State with responsibility for Communities and National Drugs Strategy, Catherine Byrne, launched Novas’ Community Detox Evaluation in the Absolute Hotel, Limerick. 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 ‘fantastic that such a small services makes such a large contribution to this sprawling geographical region.’
Established in May 2012, the 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.’
The Community Detox 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 organisation 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.