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Drug addiction: getting help - Healthy body

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If you need treatment for drug addiction, you're entitled to NHS care in the same way as anyone else who has a health problem.

With the right help and support, it's possible for you to get drug free and stay that way.

Where to get help for drugs

A GP is a good place to start. They can discuss your problems with you and get you into treatment.

They may offer you treatment at the practice or refer you to your local drug service.

If you're not comfortable talking to a GP, you can approach your local drug treatment service yourself.

Visit the Frank website to find local drug treatment services.

If you're having trouble finding the right sort of help, call the Frank drugs helpline on 0300 123 6600. They can talk you through all your options.

Charity and private drugs treatment

As well as the NHS, there are charities and private drug and alcohol treatment organisations that can help you.

Visit the Adfam website to see a list of useful organisations.

Private drug treatment can be very expensive, but sometimes people get referrals through their local NHS.

Your first appointment

At your first appointment for drug treatment, staff will ask you about your drug use. They'll also ask about your work, family and housing situation.

You may be asked to provide a sample of urine or saliva.

Staff will talk you through all of your treatment options and agree a treatment plan with you.

They can tell you about local support groups for drug users and their families or carers.

You'll also be given a keyworker, who will support you throughout your treatment.

What drug treatment involves

Your treatment will depend on your personal circumstances and what you're addicted to. Your keyworker will work with you to plan the right treatment for you.

Your treatment plan may include a number of different treatments and strategies.

Talking therapies

Talking therapies, such as CBT, help you to see how your thoughts and feelings affect your behaviour.

Treatment with medicines

If you're dependent on heroin or another opioid, you may be offered a substitute drug, such as methadone.

This means you can get on with your treatment without having to worry about withdrawing or buying street drugs.

Detoxification (detox)

This is for people who want to stop taking opioids like heroin completely. It helps you to cope with the withdrawal symptoms.

Self-help

Some people find support groups like Narcotics Anonymous helpful. Your keyworker can tell you where your nearest group is.

Reducing harm

Staff at your local drug service will help reduce the risks associated with your drug-taking. For example, you may be offered testing and treatment for hepatitis or HIV.

Where you'll have your treatment

You may have your treatment while living at home or as a hospital inpatient.

If your drug-related problems are severe or complicated, you may be referred to a residential rehabilitation service.

For more information about residential rehabilitation, or to find a rehab near you, visit rehabonline.

More information about specific drugs

Page last reviewed: 24 March 2020
Next review due: 24 March 2023