Insider News Edition 3

insider news




insider news

autumn 2021 Integrated Substance Misuse Service -isms- Devon & Dorset www.edp.org.uk | info@edp.org.uk 1

insider news

In this edition...

• World Hepatitis Day Special • The role of positivity and gratitude in recovery • A Day in the Life of a Volunteer Counsellor • Being a Peer Mentor • Community Links • Working in Partnership with Practice Plus Welcome A warm welcome to this our third edition of Insider News. We have recently been paying our respects to people we have lost during Overdose Awareness Day which took place on 31st August. It was a time for positive memories and quiet reflection for staff, service users and our wider partnership. In our prison settings memorial services took place in a number of settings and in the community, our teams were out in force in town centre locations, lighting candles, handing out harm reduction information and carrying out naloxone training (naloxone temporarily reverses the effects of an opioid overdose when administered by injection or nasal spray). Naloxone is offered to every prison leaver, with Dorset adopting an opt-out approach which has really increased take-up levels. If you have someone that you would like to remember, we have set up an online memorial page at https://www. mykeeper.com/profile/OverdoseAwarenessDayAndRecoveryMonth2021/ As we move into September, we begin a whole month of celebrations to mark Recovery Month. We have an inspiring story going out every day on our Facebook and Twitter pages and a big fundraising push for a brand new Recovery Fund, which is a pot of money that will provide anyone that uses our services with some of the small things that will aid with their recovery i.e. course enrolment fees, walking shoes or learn to play books. If you’d like to support this fund, join in with any of the fundraising activities or find out more about what’s happening during September please visit our Devon page here: https://www.edp.org.uk/devon-launches-a-new-recovery-fund/ and our Dorset page here: https://www.edp.org.uk/dorset-launches-new-recovery-fund/ Our new criminal justice positions are now operational and we look forward to being able to better provide support for those transitioning out of prison, but also to working with our partners to reduce offending rates and supporting those at risk of offending. We hope to bring you news of how these roles are benefiting people transitioning out of prisons into the community in future editions of Insider News. Best wishes Penny Blackmore CEO, EDP Drug & Alcohol Services www.edp.org.uk | info@edp.org.uk 2

In this edition...

What it’s like to be a mentor

at HMP Portland My name is Steve and I was recently appointed to the position of Substance Misuse Service Wing representative. My role in this position involves helping other prisoners with tasks related to SMS work, such as completing workbooks and paperwork, discussing any problems or issues faced by clients, also I am there to help prisoners access the service if they feel they need help with issues around substance misuse. I am at a point in my recovery where I feel confident in saying “no” to drugs which therefore makes me feel I am in a position to share my ideas, advice and experiences. I believe that in my role, I am also available to discuss any other troubles the lads may have as there can be many problems that can be linked to substances sometimes. I feel I have a positive mental attitude that allows me the opportunity to help others and I look forward to doing whatever needs doing and help anyone who needs it. www.edp.org.uk | info@edp.org.uk 3

What it’s like to be a mentor

Community Links

going in your belly, the thing that makes you want to get up in the morning and stay sober – be that a guitar, guitar lessons, a surf board, some home furnishings that help to make your house feel like a home or a course that trains you to become a boxing instructor! We ask that individuals apply directly and commit to giving something back to the fund (this can be through fundraising, sharing your story or sharing skills learnt through volunteering). Full details about how to apply to the fund coming soon. Beach cleans, skydives, kayaking, walking, cycling and tai chi are all lined up as adventure activities for the big fundraising push during September for the new Recovery Fund The Recovery Fund was an idea created through the Working Better Together Strategy Group – a collective of service users, lived experience volunteers and staff members from different services within EDP who aim to influence decisions and developments across the whole of EDP. It was also at this meeting that group members fed back that they wanted to see more presence from substance misuse teams at Courts and Police Custody Suites. September is Recovery Month and it’s a time to celebrate everything positive that comes with recovery, a time to say thanks to those that helped us along the way, to raise awareness to those who may not understand and to pay tribute to friends or loved ones who haven’t found the path to From this idea, a funding bid was formed recovery yet or who lost the fight along the which has now resulted in achieving this vision, with new dedicated roles being way. introduced at EDP such as Court Support Workers and an increased presence at proAt EDP we want to shout loudly and bation and improved support when leavproudly about some of the achievements our incredible community members have ing prison. made so we’ll be sharing a story every day throughout the month of September that speaks of recovery. We’re also using the month of September to launch our Recovery Fund and have several fundraising activities taking place to help kick start the fund. The Recovery Fund will be open to anyone engaged with EDP, including those transitioning from prison to the community, who needs a little help to access that particular thing that supports their recovery. It’s not for ‘essential’ items that can be funded elsewhere like fridges or bus fares to appointments, rather, it’s for the thing that gets a fire www.edp.org.uk | Next time we’ll update on the Recovery Fund and share some information about the mutual aid groups on offer at EDP and in the local community… info@edp.org.uk 4

Community Links

Working in Partnership - featuring Practice Plus

World Hepatitis Day It was World Hepatitis Day on 28th July and EDP’s community services (REACH and Together) took testing out to the streets, outside its hubs and did lots of promotion of the free postal Dry Blood Spot Tests service. We working partnership with Practice Plus in the Devon prison estate and they have been doing some incredible work in dramatically reducing Hep C from our prisons. Let;’s take a look at what they have achieved: Working together with the Hepatitis C Trust and pharmaceutical company Gilead, EDP’s Substance Misuse Team and the Practice Plus Group are attempting to eliminate the Hep C virus in Exeter prison by 2025. During May 2021 a High Intensive Test and Treat (HITT) intervention took place, testing 97.6% of the prison population for Hepatitis C. As a result of this work, the routine testing of all new arrivals into the prison during the reception process and the subsequent treatment of those testing positive, HMP Exeter has been awarded micro-elimination status for Hepatitis C! This was achieved just in time for World Hepatitis Day in July, so huge congratulations to the partnership team for this impressive achievement. Micro-elimination status is only gained when over 95% of the prison population has been tested in one location over a twelve month period, as well as in excess of 90% of those identified as Hep C positive having been started on treatment. The Hepatitis C Virus Programme Oversight Group (HCVPOG) Health & Justice subgroup met and awarded HMP Exeter with this status. www.edp.org.uk | info@edp.org.uk 5

Working in Partnership - featuring Practice Plus

World Hepatitis Day Special

England vs USA As part of a special event organised between prisons in England and USA, Portland Prison was the winner of a 500 Mile Walking Challenge and a resident of Channings Wood was the winner of a song writing competition. In celebration of the increased awareness and better treatment of Hep C, there is a tradition of linking prisons in England with counterparts in the USA for World Hepatitis Day. The Hepatitis C Trust play a key role in facilitating Each year, the prisons involved set up some fun, inclusive competitions for all those in custody to join in with. This year of course, everyone was under lockdown restrictions so they had to get really creative! To make things more inclusive they managed to build a partnership with the New Mexico Peer Education Project (NMPEP) and Project Echo over in the USA and were then able to directly communicate with peers in 11 different correctional facilities to get them involved. The judging of the competition reported below was done together fairly over Zoom meetings with our staff and the staff over at NMPEP. The three competitions set up this year were: Five Key Messages Art Competition An art competition was to design some artwork or a poster that encompasses one or some of our key messages, our prizes were £20 and also a print from well-known UK prisoner Charles Bronson who donated through The Koestler Art Foundation. Our entries certainly didn’t disappoint! We had entries from males and female prisons in both countries but the overall winner was a standout entry from one of the men in North Eastern Correctional Facility, New Mexico. As you can see below it’s a poster of some pills chasing off a virus and stating HCV is now curable with 1-3 tablets a day and non-invasive (no shots!)with little side effects. Walk 500 Miles Our second competition was a physical competition where we challenged the residents and staff inside the prison to attempt to walk, run, hop, skip, row 500 Miles over the 5 weekends leading up to World Hepatitis Day. This was an especially difficult challenge this year due to the Covid 19 regime and social distancing restrictions in both countries. Despite this, both countries did an amazing job, our England winners were HMP Portland for the men with over 1,800 miles and the women’s winners were HMP Drake Hall with nearly 1,300 miles! Our partners over in the US also managed to get over 500 miles in one of their Women’s facilities Western Womens who covered 514 6 www.edp.org.uk | info@edp.org.uk

World Hepatitis Day Special

miles, their team included some of their geriatric residents!

Walk 500 Miles Song Lyrics Our final competition was to rewrite the lyrics to the well-known Proclaimers song “I’m Gonna Be” (500 Miles) incorporating lyrics that involve hepatitis C. The prize for the England winners was the song to be professionally produced and played Nationally into all the prisons via National Prison Radio on World Hepatitis Day. Again the uptake in this competition was nothing short of amazing! The England side of the competition had to be judged early so the song could be produced in time for broadcast so our prison team chose a winner for the male and female estate and the song went off to be recorded by recording artist Jennah who did a great job. I don’t think we could have prepared for how emotive and motivational this challenge was going to be, the finished songs were broadcast on the day and most of us at Hep C Trust are still singing and humming the songs today! The England V USA entries were then collated and judged with our partners over NMPEP, due to so many good entries we decided upon a male and female winner from each country which resulting in the whole competition being a draw! A Hepatitis C rendition of I’m gonna be (500 miles) by The Proclaimers was submitted by a prisoner from HMP Channings Wood (Stephen “Cookie” Cook) who has since been released, which won the competition. And here is his winning entry. Verse If you use drugs Then you’ll maybe have Hep C So you’ll need to take a test to check you’re free” “If you share stuff with your mates and old junkies you should still then take the test to check you’re free” Chorus “cause you don’t want to up your clogs or keel over so premature so see your prison healthcare team or put an app in to be sure” Verse You may feel rough You may not see the signs But that doesn’t mean your hepatitis free We can cure it With a course of little pills That doesn’t make you ill they really set you free Chorus “cause you don’t want to up your clogs or keel over so premature so see your prison healthcare team or put an app in to be sure” www.edp.org.uk | info@edp.org.uk 7

miles, their team included some of their geriatric residents!

The role of positivity and gratitude in recovery

“It made me want to make my family proud of me; it encouraged me in carrying on with my journey”. Positivity & Gratitude Campaign Week EDP’s Integrated Substance Misuse Service (ISMS) Team designed a week long campaign focused on celebrating and encouraging positive thoughts. Positivity and Gratitude Week took place in June and was a time for the team to help the men in custody explicitly focus on the concepts and benefits of positivity and gratitude in recovery. What took place? Every service user on EDP’s ISMS caseload received a message of appreciation from their recovery worker that specifically identified their many positive qualities and bronze, silver and gold reward bands were handed out to those that have demonstrated notable progression in their recovery journeys. Workshops and recovery packs had a make-over, so that they had a specific focus on how gratitude has a positive impact on recovery. ISMS staff helped the men look at the meanings of optimism, positivity and gratitude and explored how these concepts are attitudes that you can choose to have, thereby giving you control over how you interpret and respond even when a situation seems to be negative. All the positive thinking and self-esteem was reinforced by including a range of real quotes in recovery packs, and was followed up with an explanation of the many benefits of focusing on gratitude, including physical benefits such as better sleep and lower blood pressure. The Team wanted to demonstrate that a positive mind set is an active choice and something that an individual can physically take control of which is why staff then ran guided meditation sessions. As part of these sessions, the men in custody were given instructions on ‘how to do your own meditations’ so that service users were given practical tools and experiences of how mindfulness and meditation can be a positive physical response to a situation that might feel negative. Simple www.edp.org.uk | info@edp.org.uk 8

The role of positivity and gratitude in recovery

activities such as colouring sheets and word searches were also included to demonstrate how negative emotions can be managed until they pass by, choosing to focus on

something different and ‘in the now’. One of the most enjoyable activities for staff was providing the opportunity to explicitly thank and demonstrate appreciation for those who have supported and impressed them. Service users were encouraged to nominate three people to whom they wished to express gratitude and the ISMS team then relayed these messages. Contact with family members proved to be particularly valued: the ISMS team received several calls from families expressing what a difference receiving the message had made to them, with family members expressing the relief they felt upon hearing positive news from prison. Members of prison staff were also identified as having made a real difference to the quality of life of a resident. Even more telling were the responses of the clients themselves when they received their message from their recovery worker – many were genuinely shocked to see someone recognising and valuing their positive qualities and some have even chosen to put these messages up on their walls. Awarding bronze, silver and gold bands as a tangible recognition of the efforts someone has made in their recovery journey was also a lovely reminder of how we all need recognition and appreciation to develop healthy self-esteem and confidence and what a difference a simple compliment or ‘thank you’ can make to someone’s day. On reflection… We asked for feedback on the week and many clients took the time to give us thoughtful and insightful comments on their experiences: I feel that thinking positively somehow makes you make the right choices. It wa s goo put a d to fa mily at ea se by member them l know etting that I’m d oin my mu g well. A s m a weig said, it’s ht of shou f her ld me gr ers. It ma atefu d l for e my It included everybody – it had a really good feel to it. nitely I’m defi t more a lo feeling d for the ine determ future. It was nice to have it acknowledged that although we are criminals, we are not all bad. www.edp.org.uk | info@edp.org.uk I am trying to be more positive, especially as I already have so much negative in my life that I can’t change. 9

activities such as colouring sheets and word searches were also included to demonstrate how negative emotions can be managed until they pass by, choosing to focus on



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