Sheffield drug and alcohol support showcased at international visit

19th July 2019
Oslo University Hospital visit to START Sheffield, NHS

Researchers from Norway have visited a NHS-run drug and alcohol service based in Sheffield which has been recognised as a national example of best practice.

The Sheffield Treatment and Recovery Team (START) was visited by three researchers from Oslo University Hospital to share best practice on helping people with drug or alcohol dependencies get back into work.

START were selected by Public Health England to be one of seven sites carrying out a randomised control trial which is testing a new model to better care for people with drug or alcohol dependencies. During the visit the team shared best practice and some of their findings with their colleagues from Norway.

The visit was a result of START’s excellent work on the Individual Placement and Support for Alcohol and Drug Dependence Trial, where the team has become one of the leading referrers to the trial in the country.

The trial is measuring the effectiveness of a new way of helping people with drug or alcohol dependencies. It involves intensive, personalised support to help people get into work, followed, for those who secure employment, by in-work support made available to both the employee and the employer.

Employment has already been shown to be hugely beneficial for people dealing with substance misuse, and is associated with a range of other benefits, including improved physical and mental health.

The early signs are that Individual Placement and Support may be an effective intervention for people with alcohol and drug dependences. The trial is scheduled to run until March 2020, with the results expected to be published in 2021.

Joanna Yardley, Senior Employment Specialist at START, said: “We are really proud of the work we’ve been doing to support the IPS-AD Trial. The team have really got behind the project and have seen some really positive results for service users. The work we’re doing now will help us to better understand how best we can support people who are dependent on alcohol or drugs right across England in the future.”