Concern addicts will relapse if Doncaster drug support centre closes

Recovering alcoholics and drug users in Doncaster may relapse into addiction if a support service is axed, it is claimed.

Monday, 21st March 2016, 7:00 am
(l-r) Bev Chapman, Sean Gibbons, and Andy Pickering are unhappy at the plans to close the Drug Depo at The Hall Gate Centre, Mexborough. Picture: Andrew Roe

Doncaster Council is considering cutting the service offered by the Recovery and Prevention Group from five days to two days a week.

The service is used by about 15 people from across Mexborough, Conisbrough and Denaby every week, who receive help on overcoming addiction. They are also encouraged to take part in craft activities and receive assistance with housing and employment matters.

On behalf of the group, one service user has now penned an open letter urging council chiefs to save the service.

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It said: “There will be nowhere to go in Mexborough where you can call in if you are upset and need support. This may lead to people relapsing. The people who come to group come for a variety of reasons. I came 10 years ago and still struggle with heroin addiction. Some people started coming two years ago and are now ‘clean’. People with addiction need support and this support is being taken away.“

The letter says they were told the five days a week service would close on March 31 and move from The Depot in Hallgate, Mexborugh. It is understood bosses are looking at relocating the service to The New Surgery two days a week.

Mexborough Coun Bev Chapman said: “This move could have a very bad effect on service users and I will be talking to the relevant people at the council to try and keep the group as it is.”

A council spokesman said the authority is considering changes but no firm decision has been made.

Dr Rupert Suckling, director of public health, said: “Decreasing budgets mean we have to make sure our services are operating as efficiently as possible. Our research has shown that the number of people currently receiving treatment at Hall Gate drugs centre could be effectively treated in two days, rather than the current five. Reducing the number of days to two a week will also enable us to make the service available to other areas of the borough. No final decisions have been taken as to where in Mexborough the service will operate from in future, and while some authorities have had to close outreach centres and operate these services from a central location, we are able to keep the services available locally. We are confident the reduction in available days will not impact the quality of service that is available to those in need.”