Drug use and support

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If you need treatment and support for drug use, you're entitled to care in the same way as any other health problem.
Drug use can escalate and get out of control very quickly. If a drug addiction/misuse is untreated, it can result in a wide array of long-term problems. Negative effects that are linked to addictions include family and relationships breakdown, and long term health problems.

If you want to change your drug use  or need held with problems caused by drugs, contact CGL Waltham Forest, a free confidential service for adults and young people who live in the borough.
You can also consider speaking to your GP if you are concerned about your drug or alcohol use.
Keep reading to find out more about support available locally and nationally.

Support with drug use Click to get info

The following services are available to offer advice and support to those who need it.

(1)CGL adults service:
Telephone: 0203 826 9600
E-mail: CGL.WalthamForest@cgl.org.uk
Online self-referral form

(2) CGL YP service: 
Phone: 0203 404 1098
Email: walthamforestyp@cgl.org.uk

Change grow live
(3)  The East London webchat is for young people under 25 looking for advice and info. If you're a professional or a parent looking for advice about/for a younger person, we can help with that too. The webchat service is open 1-4pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and can be accessed on the change grow live webiste.

(4)National helplines, websites and support organisations 

  • FRANK: National drug information service with factfiles and FAQs

  • Release: Organisation providing free legal advice on drug issues, and a helpline - 020 7342 2989.

  • Co-Dependants Anonymous: A set of informal self-help groups made up of people with a common interest in working through the problems that co-dependency has caused in their lives.

  • Re-Solv: Providing online support and counselling for anyone whose life is affected by solvent abuse, including family members and friends.

  • DrugFAM: Are you affected by someone else's drug or alcohol addiction? Are you bereaved through drug or alcohol use? Contact their free helpline from 9am-9pm, 7 days a week on 0300 888 3853. 

  • Family Lives: Provides help and support for anyone caring for a child.

  • Families Anonymous: Support for families and friends concerned about drug abuse or related behavioural problems.

  • Narcotics Anonymous: Local self-help groups of people in recovery supporting each other.

Find more helplines/support organisations at the Adfam website.

Young people Click to get info

CGL Young People (CGL YP)  Waltham Forest offers a free confidential drug and alcohol outreach service for young people under 18 (including young offenders) and families in the borough. They can offer support for those who would like some information/advice about substances as well as those who may be using themselves.
They are a team of substance misuse specialists who won’t judge or tell you what to do. They are here to listen and support you to make positive choices and changes. They also work with young people affected by parents or carers with substance misuse problems.

They can offer virtual, phone or face to face support, in a location suitable for you. 

To make a referral or for more information contact the team at 020 3002 7009 and email walthamforestyp@cgl.org.uk or Simone James.

Webchat:  The East London webchat is for young people under 25 looking for advice and info. If you're a professional or a parent looking for advice about/for a younger person, we can help with that too. The webchat service is open 1-4pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and can be accessed at Change Grow Live.

Types of support include 

  • Comprehensive assessment and care planning for young people 

  • One- to- one therapeutic interventions 

  • Group work programs 

  • Information, support and training for families, carers and professionals 

  • Education and awareness workshops 

  • Support with ETE opportunities

  • Peer mentoring opportunities

  • Advocacy 

  • Referrals to relevant services   

 Your treatment and care will be entirely based on your individual needs and circumstances. Your keyworker will work with you to plan the right treatment for you.

Your treatment may include:

  • Talking therapies - talking therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), help you to see how your thoughts and feelings affect your behaviour.

  • Treatment with medicines - if you are dependent on heroin or another opioid drug, you may be offered a substitute drug, such as methadone. This means you can get on with your treatment without having to worry about withdrawing or buying street drugs.

  • Detoxification (detox) - this is for people who want to stop taking opioid drugs like heroin completely. It helps you to cope with the withdrawal symptoms.

  • Self-help - some people find support groups like Narcotics Anonymous is a self help support grouphelpful. Your keyworker can tell you where your nearest group is. 

  • Reducing harm - your drugs workers will help you reduce the risks associated with your drug-taking. You may be offered testing and treatment for hepatitis or HIV, for example.

Drug use can escalate and get out of control very quickly. If a drug addiction/misuse is untreated, it can result in a wide array of long-term problems. Negative effects that are linked to addictions include:

  • Family breakdown

  • Strained or ruined relationships

  • Job loss and unemployment

  • Legal problems, including arrest and imprisonment

  • Financial problems

  • Homelessness

  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviours

In addition, alcohol and drug addictions  are associated with a wide range of long-term physical consequences, which can even result in death. These include:

  • Liver damage

  • High blood pressure, stroke and other heart problems

  • Problems in brain functioning

  • Pancreatitis

  • Gout

  • Ulcers

  • Sexual dysfunction

  • Kidney failure

  • Weakened immune system

  • Increased risk of numerous types of cancer

Despite the negative long-term consequences, it is important to understand that these conditions are treatable, and the most crucial first step is to seek expert help for your addiction.

Prescription drugs Click to get info

Always take prescription drugs according to the instructions you were given by your health care professional.  If you have any questions about the prescriptions you have, the best place to start is with your GP.  Pharmacists are also able to give you information and answer questions about your prescriptions, even if you take several at once.  Never give someone else a prescription drug that was written for you.

There are new drugs available that many people use when they go to clubs or parties.  They used to be known as legal highs.  CGL also offer a service for non-opiate users which includes group and one to one support. They can also harm health and are now illegal to trade or give away. For more information visit the Frank website. 

The signs and symptoms can vary from person to person and can also depend on the type of addiction that you are suffering from. However, there are several signs and symptoms that are common to most types of addiction. These include:

Psychological signs and symptoms:

  • Mood swings and increased temper

  • Tiredness

  • Paranoia

  • Inability to focus or concentrate

  • Poor judgement

  • Memory problems

  • Diminished self-esteem and self-worth

  • Feelings of hopelessness

  • Exacerbation of any existing mental health conditions such as depression

Behavioural and social signs and symptoms:

  • Secretive or dishonest behaviour

  • Poor performance and/or attendance at work or school

  • Withdrawing from responsibility and socialising

  • Losing interest in activities, hobbies or events that were once important to you

  • Continuing to use the substance, or engage in certain behaviours, despite the negative consequences that these cause

  • Trying but failing to reduce or stop misusing a substance, or engaging in certain behaviours

Physical signs and symptoms:

  • Lack of concern over physical appearance/personal hygiene

  • Disrupted sleep patterns, including insomnia

This easy to use tool can be used by frontline staff working with any adult or young person to help assess cannabis use and support people using cannabis. You can also use the tool yourself if you are a cannabis user, to help you assess your use, set goals for yourself, minimise risk and stay safe.

Download out Cannabis self assessment tool

Needle exchange Click to get info

If you inject drugs or know someone who does, our free and confidential needle exchange services will help you to reduce harm and risk.

Access needle exchange at CGL Waltham Forest (you do not have to be a client) or at any of the following pharmacies:

  • Anji's Pharmacy 355 Lea Bridge Road, Leyton, E10 7LA
  • Marijak Chemist 354 High Road, Leyton E10 6QE
  • Medicos Chemist 399 Hoe Street, Walthamstow, E17 9AP
  • Bower Pharmacy 340 Grove Green Road, Leytonstone, E11 4EA
  • Leyton Orient Pharmacy 75 Oliver Rd, Leyton, London E10 5LG
  • Morrisons Pharmacy 6-7 Salisbury Hall Gardens, Chingford, London E4 8SN