Drug dependency clinics.


In the 1960s a series of drug dependency clinics were set up in several cities to provide hospital based treatment for drug users who were dependent on drugs, usually opiates.

Most of their clients were heroin users who were offered either a detox programme or the prescription of substitute drugs on a so-called maintenance basis. The aim of this was to stabilise the user on a steady dose of a clean alternative to street heroin. The drug used most often is methadone although other drugs such as buprenorphine or LAAM can also be used.



Changing fashions.

Over the years since the 1960s drug treatment fashions have changed several times. The current approach is one of 'flexible prescribing' which tries to match up individual needs to flexible treatment packages. Drug dependency clinics can also be provided in community locations or in conjunction with community drug services as well as in hospitals. Treatments do vary between different clinics, so it is worth finding out what they can offer before using them.




In-patient.

In severe cases where the client might struggle to achieve a gradual detox in the community there might be an in-patient option. In this case the gradual drug reduction is managed on an in-patient basis usually with individual counselling sessions and/or group therapy being offered to support the detox process. There can also be behaviour therapy offered to help the user develop the skills of an abstainer. The in-patient facility will ideally be in a special ward or drug dependency unit although sometimes in-patient detox beds are scattered around several wards.




Referral.

Drug dependency clinics usually need a letter of referral from the family doctor, social services, probation, or local drug service before taking on the client.