The Covid-19 pandemic has created a time of uncertainty and anxiety for everyone and particularly for those who are affected by drug and alcohol addiction. The restructuring of services, social distancing measures and self-isolation can be particularly difficult for those who are trying to remain drug or alcohol free and for those who are in recovery.
The Government plan for living with Covid-19 details how non-Covid health and social care services will be resumed, especially during the challenging winter months. This includes planning for the safe resumption of drug and alcohol services, including community-based services, residential programmes and recovery support groups.
The Department has set up a working group with drug and alcohol service providers to develop a 'Framework for the Restoration of Drug and Alcohol Services', in a planned and appropriate manner in line with public health advice. The working group has identified issues on which guidance and supports are required.
I have approved additional funding to support the resumption of drug and alcohol services including the adaptation of services, premises, online meetings and personal protective equipment.
I believe drug and alcohol services provide essential supports for people with addiction issues, including gambling. I expect to receive the Framework Document by the end of October.