Author: gsl

Welcome to our new website!

A huge welcome to Harbour’s fresh, new-look website!

We’re so pleased to unveil our new website, and we hope that the content will be useful for you. We’ve been keeping quiet for the last few months while we get everything ready, but we hope that this new site will have all the information that you and your loved ones or colleagues need about Harbour, and about drugs and alcohol more generally.

We’ve brushed up the information about Our Services. This means that it’s easier than ever to learn about how we can help you, or someone you know. No matter your age, or what substances you’re currently using, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

To learn about how drugs and alcohol can affect you, or your friends and family, head to our lovely new Knowledge Bank. We’ve got over XX articles split into five categories: Drugs; Alcohol; Families and Communities; Health and Mental health; and Young People. Everything has been written by our substance misuse experts, so we hope you find them useful and simple to read. If there’s any information you’d like to see, please email us with your suggestions and we’ll do our best to include them.

We have also increased the ways that you can get involved with our work here at Harbour. If you share our vision of a world where every person is empowered to make positive changes and live a healthy, fulfilling life, then we’d love you to support our work, fundraise for us, or join us as a volunteer. Head to the Get Involved pages to join our movement.

We’ve got a brand new blog section, where we’ll be sharing announcements about the organisation, and stories from our staff and service users. This will be regularly updated, so keep an eye on the blog and what we’re up to.

And finally, if you want to learn more about what drives us as a charity – read our values, and meet our fabulous team – we’ve got a brand new About Us section too. If you have any feedback on the website, or if you spot anything that’s not quite working perfectly, please drop us a line.

Keep in touch! We’d really love it if you would follow us on Twitter or Facebook. This is the best way to stay up-to-date with us and all we offer here at Harbour.

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Luke’s story

In this blog post, Luke*, 17, tells us in his own words about his work with Harbour and how we helped him turn his life around.

When I was first referred to Harbour, me being a ‘troubled teenager’ was a slight understatement. I remember meeting my Harbour worker, Mike Gale, in ACE education where I was attending at the time.

Back then I had a large amount of problems with ecstasy pills, MDMA, cocaine, and cannabis. Mike had weekly meetings with me even throughout my time in Plymbridge House in February 2017, and I remember him talking to me about emotions and impulses in a way that opened my mind, and helped me leave the small bubble I was in that I called a life.

One of the first things that stuck with me since I started my meetings with Harbour was: in the life of an addict, the world that you live in is minuscule. 90% of your thoughts, money, time and lifestyle is drug related and you’re usually in a group of people who are also in this lifestyle who you consider ‘friends’.

“I started to learn about mindfulness, controlling urges, and more things that aided me in my mission to quit drugs and become a normal teenager again.”

This is a lifestyle that I think conforms to Einstein’s Theory of Insanity, where you do the same things over and over again, and expect different results. Some drug users convince themselves that next time is gonna be better than the last time, while blocking out feelings and forcing themselves to be oblivious to the fact that the lifestyle is messing up their whole life. After I not only heard this but actually listened, and realised how true it was, my motivation with quitting drugs heightened, I started to learn about mindfulness, controlling urges, and more things that aided me in my mission to quit drugs and become a normal teenager again.

Now, I am fully clean off all drugs and honestly, if it wasn’t for Mike and the Harbour team then I dread to think where I would be now. I give all my thanks to these amazing, understanding people for helping me overcome my addictions and helping me become the motivated, full of life lad I am today!

* not his real name. Due to the sensitive nature of Harbour’s work, we protect the identities of all of our clients for their privacy and safety.

If you are 18 or younger, and worried about your drug or alcohol use, find out about our specialist services for young people.

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Jacky’s Story

My name is Jacky. I’m a mother and a grandmother; I’m also a hopeless addict. I cannot put into words the way I feel very fortunate.

Naloxone saves lives
Naloxone saves lives

Around 9 months ago I relapsed after a significant amount of clean and sober time. I went for it – booze, benzos, opiates and intravenous “injecting” heroin. A deadly combination.

I would not be writing this if it weren’t for my ex-partner. I was chaotic and dishonest, drinking and using, getting needles at the exchange; he shared his concerns with his drugs worker and requested Naloxone for me.]

If it wasn’t for the fact that this service is available, I would be DEAD and I don’t use the term loosely. My ex-partner had to use it [Naloxone] on two occasions and I was blue and not breathing, basically dead but didn’t stay dead. If this drug was not given to my ex I would be dead.

Eight months on, I’m in a kinder place mentally better. I have a drugs misuse specialist Suzanne Bloomfield, a CPN Sue Blatchford. I’m not using street drugs or alcohol. I’m stable on a Subutex daily script. I discussed a home detox with the team today. All positive stuff.

This service should continue. NALOXONE SAVED MY LIFE.

And for this I am truly grateful.

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Life Story: “Harbour saved my life”

speech-marksMy name is Jimmy, I would like to tell you a little bit about myself, and how Harbour saved my life.

I started drinking alcohol at a very early age, at 13 years old, because I realised that alcohol made me feel ok and accepted within a particular group of my peers.

My drug use didn’t start until I was 19, when I was in Wormwood Scrubs Prison, and I was introduced to heroin. Heroin gave me an immediate effect of feeling okay. I thought I had found my drug of choice; one which gave me a false sense of security which lasted years throughout my time in the penal system. One prison cell was very much like the last padded cell – a living hell. However, it was all I knew, any normal person would have realised long ago that this isn’t right; to feel safe in a padded cell.

I then was lucky enough to spend some time in a treatment centre, which helped, and began the decade that I spent in recovery. Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes and I relapsed in 2014 after thinking I was ‘normal’. It started by drinking a glass of wine every night, and then I found myself back in a crack house, the same-old-same-old.

I was back on the heroin again and when the consequences started to amount I found Harbour. I turned to Harbour when I felt that everyone else had turned their back on me. All I know is that I owe the Harbour team a hell of a lot of gratitude for saving my life. They managed to get me detoxification treatment. I can never begin to try and square that debt I owe even if I lived ten life times. All I can do is stay ‘clean’ and sober a day at a time.

I’m ever so grateful to Harbour for saving my life. You will never know just how grateful I am.speech-marks2

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Life Story: “I have a lot to thank Harbour for”

speech-marksI went into care at the age of 12 due to things breaking down in the family home. This was only meant to be for 2 weeks whilst my parents, social services and I worked together to get things back on track. However this did not happen as they had hoped so I stayed in the care system until I was 16.

I had my first drink at around 12 and tried my first drug at around 13. When I moved into children’s homes I was drinking and generally being a pain so I was moved every couple of months. I was eventually sent to an approved school where I stayed during the week and spent weekends in a children’s home.

When I was 15 I was sniffing glue and smashed a few windows in the children’s home so the police gave me an unruly order, charging me with Malicious Mischief. During that time though local authorities were on strike so none of the care facilities available to me would accept new referrals. I was remanded to Corton Vale Prison for women until they could find me a place in a List D school (a residential school for difficult or disruptive students). I spent 4 weeks in solitary confinement there as it was a prison for adults, meaning they had no facilities for juveniles. I eventually went from there to a List D school where I stayed until I was 16 and had to leave.

I was homeless for around 6 months and then found a bedsit to stay in. I spent most of my youth under the influence of either alcohol or drugs so I spent a lot of time in court.

I moved to Plymouth when I was 21 and got back into amphetamines at around 24 when I found myself in a violent relationship. During this I came to Harbour and they helped me sort myself out. I was always very cautious around authorities and Harbour was the first service I worked with that seemed like they cared. I built a rapport with the worker I was assigned and I never felt judged for the mistakes that I had made. I finally stopped drinking and taking drugs at 30.

Since then I have worked with drug and alcohol clients for around 10 years in homeless hostels. I volunteered at Harbour for 7 months and I am now working here full time in the role of Substancespeech-marks2 Misuse Specialist which I love, so I have a lot to thank Harbour for.

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The Joint Agency Substance Misuse in Pregnancy team and their role at Harbour

The Joint Agency Substance Misuse in Pregnancy (JASMIN) is the multi-disciplinary team dedicated to working with pregnant women who are using substances. The core team is made up of a Substance Misuse Specialist, Family Support Worker and a Specialist Midwife to ensure expert care from the beginning of the pregnancy right through until the end.The aim of the team is to engage women at this often stressful and emotive time to improve outcomes for the mother and child by offering a high level of intervention and support. JASMIN also has very strong links to Children’s Centres, Probation, Hamoaze House and Children, Young People and Family Services so through the early stages of parenthood right through to the end, mothers are supported.

Our Drug Liaison and Safeguarding Midwife has said: “Harbour provides a wonderful service, not just in addressing substance misuse, but also helping with relapse prevention. Many of my patients over the years have really appreciated the input from Harbour. Fundamentally when helping pregnant women we are not just looking after the mother, but also her unborn baby. The consequences of substance misuse on unborn babies can be devastating and in some cases, particularly with alcohol use, it can leave that child life-long irreparable damage.”

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