We have launched the first inpatient drug and alcohol detox service of its kind in the east of England.
The service, based on a mental health inpatient ward at The Crystal Centre in Chelmsford, enables adults living with addiction to detox with the support of specialist doctors, nurses, psychologists and occupational therapists.
Commissioned by Essex County Council, the service, based on Topaz ward, works alongside drug and alcohol support services across the region to help patients living with addiction alongside other physical or mental health conditions.
Referrals are accepted for patients across the eastern region via GPs and drug and alcohol support services.
Patients are supported through every step of the detox process by specialist doctors and nurses and have the opportunity to take part in ward based occupational therapy, psychological therapy and art therapy groups provided for all patients on the ward.
The service also works with Alcoholics Anonymous support groups who visit patients on the ward regularly and referring agencies remain in contact with patients to provide support throughout the detox process.
Over the years I found alcohol helped me with social anxiety but the more I drank the more isolated I became to the point I found I was physically addicted.
Everything took a back seat to alcohol. I’d reached the end of the line and needed help. This service gave me a lifeline. I realised this was my opportunity and it was a relief that someone was going to look after me.
I was anxious and scared, I didn’t know what to expect but I was humbled by how many kind people there were in this environment. I thought I’d be spending all my time in my room but I chose to come into the communal area – there was a lot of laughter, fun and warmth that I hadn’t expected at all.Catherine, former patient
There was a lot of discussion about the best place for a detox service and it was felt a mental health unit could work really well.
People use substances and drink alcohol for many reasons, it’s a coping strategy and unfortunately dependency can come along with it.
The service works so well because people come here through their own choice and they understand the commitment they have to make.
Being on a mental health ward with patients who may also have substance misuse issues means you find people really form a real bond here.Hayley Earle, Inpatient Detox Manager at EPUT
Following discharge patients are referred to community-based drug and alcohol rehabilitation services for further support to continue their recovery with the aim of achieving long-term stability and reducing likelihood of relapse.
Catherine added: “After being on the ward I went into rehab, six days a week for eight-and-a-half weeks. I had to do the hard work on myself and address my demons and the power of addiction. It was tough but an incredible experience.
“Now I’m enjoying life, every day is quite a miracle – a few months ago I would never have dreamt that was possible.”
Topaz is the first provision of its kind in the eastern region, offering dedicated support to patients who have complex issues with substances and co-existing mental and physical health concerns.
The specialist inpatient team works closely with community teams across the region to support patients through their detox and recovery, ensuring the best possible outcomes. This is a fantastic resource and we hope that it continues to thrive and support those who need it.Emma Tulip-Betts, specialist wellbeing and public health officer at Essex County Council
Watch a short video about the service and Catherine’s experience.
This new detox service commissioned by the council has the power to help adults living with addiction turn their lives around for the better.
Thanks to the hard work of EPUT, we are proud to have it here in Essex and make a real difference for patients, and their families, across the East of England.Councillor Jane Fleming, Deputy Cabinet Member for Health, Adult Social Care and ICS Integration at Essex County Council
Anyone living with drug or alcohol addiction interested in the detox service should speak with their GP in the first instance.
The inpatient detox service page has more information about the referral process.