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Northumbria Probation Area

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Drugs and Alcohol

Drug and Alcohol requirements are identified as two of the seven pathways out of offending.

Drug rehabilitation

Offenders often commit acquisitive crimes, such as theft and burglary to fund their drug habits. This can lead to homelessness and other social problems. We work with offenders to help them achieve a drug free lifestyle, which can reduce the likelihood of reoffending.

Drug Rehabilitation or DRR is a requirement for offenders with serious drug abuse problems and offending behaviour linked to these problems. It is part of the community order and must be accompanied by supervision to provide the necessary support.

We work with specialist partner agencies focussing on offenders’ substance misuse and related lifestyles. They must work towards achieving a drug free lifestyle during their order and provide regular samples to prove this.

The requirement includes a long term rehabilitation programme of treatment and support to help offenders break away from drug addiction and offending. This can be carried on long after their sentence has finished.

We also give offenders the opportunity to engage in a full programme of activities such as attending the Addressing Substance Related Offending programme where offenders look at their addictive behaviour and how it links to crime. They also attend basic skills training and receive support in developing their education, training and employment prospects. This can help them access the pathways out of crime for example, by finding employment or a suitable place to live.

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Alcohol treatment

In the UK, alcohol misuse contributes significantly to criminal and anti social behaviour and in the North East region, alcohol consumption is high but provision of treatment services is comparatively low. Research carried out by Newcastle University indicated that 30 - 35% of the offenders we supervise in Northumbria could be harmful or dependent drinkers.  Work is being done to address this with the North East Regional Alcohol Advisory Group

  North East Regional Alcohol Advisory Group
The alcohol treatment requirement is part of the community order or suspended sentence order. It focuses on offenders who have a serious alcohol dependency or whose alcohol misuse is a contributing factor in their offending, particularly where the offence involves violence. The requirement is not appropriate for offenders who only require general alcohol awareness counselling or if they are convicted of a less serious offence. The aim is to reduce or eliminate the offender’s dependency on alcohol.

Alcohol is also an issue for many offenders we see during supervision. We work with NECA (North East Council on Addictions) to combat alcohol misuse. During an offender’s supervision session, probation officers and specialist NECA staff work with offenders to determine their alcohol misuse and the impact it has on their lifestyle and offending behaviour. We also provide a short series of brief intervention sessions designed to raise awareness and help individuals change their patterns of alcohol use. Additionally, we incorporate an educational part to the sessions, including facts about alcohol use and the affects it has on the offender’s health.

  North East Council on Addictions

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