What works with high impact drinkers

People may often feel that drinkers who are not in contact with services, or who don’t appear motivated to change, are a lost cause.

This is not the case. Through positive action and the promotion of self-belief, we can help people change. This can be tough, but if we do not demonstrate a belief in the possibility of change then we will reinforce a sense of hopelessness in clients.

Positive action means more than simply referring to treatment; it means active engagement, proactive harm reduction (such as simply encouraging better nutrition) and building motivation.

However, two approaches have proven particularly useful with this client group:

  • Assertive outreach
  • Developing multi-agency groups that provide a focus on individuals with the highest needs

The Blue Light approach involves bringing key agencies such as police, housing, mental health, hospital and others together with the specialist alcohol services. This allows the identification of key individuals (often known to most or all services in the area), and the development of consistent, jointly owned interventions.