Group to help people affected by drink and drug abuse

A COMMUNITY group run by people in Crawley who have been affected by drink and drug misuse is being launched in January.

Called Crawley EXACT, it is one of a network the West Sussex Drug and Alcohol Team has set up countywide.

EXACT groups enable people who are recovering from alcohol and drug misuse to influence and shape the planning of services in West Sussex to meet their needs.

As Brian Morgan, DAAT Project Manager, said: “The people using drug and alcohol services in West Sussex are the experts in the services they receive.

“They know what works well and what does not. They know what improvements need to be made.”

Its first aim will be to create a Recovery Community, which will have a wide range of aims, including:

One: Giving people in recovery the opportunity to contribute to the community.

Brian said: “Most of the people in recovery in West Sussex have a desire to ‘give back’ and are contributing positively to their local community.

“Crawley EXACT will provide an avenue for recovering people to get involved in meaningful ways.”

Two: Putting a face on recovery.

“The vast majority of people struggling with an alcohol or drug problem do not get treatment for their addiction. One of the major reasons for this is stigma. Stigma prevents people from seeking help.

“By speaking publicly about the reality of recovery, members of Crawley EXACT will put a face on recovery,” said Brian.

Three: Bridging the gap.

Brian said: “Most treatment programmes deal only with the front end of the problem – usually a brief stay and you’re done. There’s rarely someone who is going to support you with all the other factors that help you put your life back in working order.

“This is where Crawley EXACT will come – it will help bridge the gap between treatment and rebuilding productive lives.”

Pete Bradbury, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Public Protection, said: “It is a recognised fact that recovery can be contagious. There is a sound body of evidence that shows people are most motivated to start on their individual recovery journey by seeing the progress made by their peers.

“Those already on the recovery journey are often best placed to help, which is where Crawley EXACT will play a major role.”