Offering alternative therapies

There are one or two [GPs] here that are very open, that listen to us because apart from counselling we offer alternative help as well. For example, there is acupuncture going on next door. We do head massage. And we work with the Health Agency to give full body massage and stuff like that. We give a lot that never existed before. People move. Because before it is about looking at harm reduction. Looking at people using drugs and how to use drugs the best way without doing yourself harm. I know a lot of people don’t agree with that. But, well, harm reduction is the best way forward. That’s why we have needles that we give to people as well. We have needle exchanging here, and condoms and stuff like that.

The alternative therapy, particularly head massage, is quite soothing. It gives people just a little bit of time out. I mean it is unfortunate we can’t do it everyday, but those who take time out to attend our therapy can relax, makes them feel better, takes the urge to take drug. It helps them cope with the problems they encounter when they are coming off drugs. But it is all done on our own backs. We had to bend the rules, and look at it our selves. We decided to look at alternative therapies. We are meant here to look at drug use. But we decided it is not just about looking at drug use, but you have to do practical things as well. Practical things like offering therapies like that. Practical things like turning people to hospital. We do things like that. That actually was not in our Service Level Agreement at all. But, we have actually told the funders that this works, and that it should now be part of the Service Level Agreement. And they are now funding it. And, in fact, it has expanded as well. Because we start to look outside Wester Hailes, and it is time to go round and tell other organisations, say social work and doctors, job centres about the new things, all the therapies that we are using in our work.

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