Recovering addicts to benefit from new system despite Barking centre closures, says service provider

The Addaction Drugs Centre in Barking is due for closure. David is a service user and is concerned a

The Addaction Drugs Centre in Barking is due for closure. David is a service user and is concerned about people managing to get to the nearest centre. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

Recovering addicts in Barking and Dagenham will receive an improved service despite the closures of the only two permanent treatment facilities in Barking, says the borough’s new service provider.

Health and social care charity Change Grow Live (CGL), who have been commissioned by the council to take over the substance misuse treatment service from April 1, believe the new “roaming hubs” system will benefit service users.

Service users have previously raised concerns about the closures of the Addaction and Red Lion drug and alcohol addiction treatment centres in Barking.

CGL are already active in the borough and run the Red Lion service, but the new contract gives them a broader remit.

David Adlett said the closures “could cost lives” as people depend on the reliability and support offered by the permanent centres.

Less people will kick their habits and more people will develop an addiction, he added, meaning crime levels in Barking are likely to rise.

However Christine Ayton, CGL service manager for Barking and Dagenham and Havering Young People Service, insists service users will benefit.

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She said: “Instead of working from three centralised locations, we will be delivering our services from a number of community hubs, such as GP surgeries and local community venues, meaning support can be more easily accessed.

“We are changing the way we deliver services to provide a more accessible and responsive service, ensuring more people can access the support they need, when they need it.

“In fact, we are going to be setting up new services in a number of areas where there has been no previous support, such as Marks Gate.

“We have worked hard to make sure people know about the changes and how these will affect them.”

St Luke’s Service, a permanent drug and alcohol centre in Dagenham, will remain open.

The council have also refuted claims service users will receive an inferior service as a result of the Barking closures.

A council spokesman said: “Visiting specific buildings can be a barrier for some people, and intimidating to others, and so by bringing the service to individuals we will eliminate exclusion and help bring our drug and alcohol services into the 21st century.”