Back to ‘Brilliant Basics’ for Change Grow Live with a HIT Harm Reduction Partnership

Change Grow Live are excited about a new relationship with long-standing harm reduction experts HIT to deliver an ambitious harm reduction training program with the specialist training and consultancy agency. 

HIT, formerly the Mersey Drug Training and Information Centre, was established in 1985 to reduce drug-related harm and set up one of the UK’s first syringe exchange schemes. Based in Liverpool, the organisation has an international reputation for developing, advocating and implementing a pragmatic and effective approach to the use of drugs.

Peter Furlong, the national harm reduction lead for Change Grow Live
Peter Furlong, the national harm reduction lead for Change Grow Live

Peter Furlong, the national harm reduction lead for Change Grow Live, describes the plan to train over 2000 staff as just the first step in this exciting collaboration and feels it well overdue, with many staff who have joined the sector over the last decade not having had the benefit of a clear and confident understanding of the importance of harm reduction when working with drug and alcohol users. 

The three-stage training will encompass the philosophy behind harm reduction, best practice, interventions and working specifically with people at most risk of harm. The training will have a range of expected learning outcomes, enabling a wider understanding of harm reduction as an overarching philosophy when working with people who use drugs and alcohol, and allowing frontline staff the increased ability to be self-aware about the way we all risk allowing our own thinking to get in the way of meeting people where they are in their treatment journey and increasing confidence when managing risks. 

Peter Furlong also said, “We want to regain and refocus on some of the core harm reduction approaches that have lost some prominence in services in the sector, to enable greater confidence and competence in our staff to challenge non-evidence-based practice and policy and stigmatising language and behaviours that often don’t make contacting services for help an attractive option for some people”. Stigma is often a major reason for people not presenting to drug services, along with a perception – and maybe even experience – that abstinence is the only offer from some providers. We aim to really go back to basics and to build staff inclusion and buy-in that a sound and effective knowledge of harm reduction will inform better practice, increase engagement with people outside of structured treatment and include people who use drugs and alcohol in the ongoing design, development and delivery of services. 

The training is just one part of Change Grow Lives wider harm reduction strategy that also encompasses the micro elimination of Hepatitis C, increasing access to structured treatment, enhanced outreach work, continued focus on optimised dosing and improving the coverage and quality of needle and syringe programmes. 

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We are proud to work in partnership with many of the leading charities and treatment providers in the sector.

This content was created by Change Grow Live

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