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John’s Story

John* was a long term male entrenched rough sleeper in Newton Abbot. He had historically slept rough in Exeter so had been known to several of our staff for 10 years. He was a long term IV Heroin user (groin injector). Despite regular contact, he had never really engaged with any support services in Teignbridge – Teignbridge District Council (TDC) were not prepared to accommodate him until he had begun to address his substance misuse and showed some positive progress. 

A member of the rural outreach team had been on harm reduction training & had begun a conversation with the client regarding safer drug use, however, he was still unwilling to attend the local drug service due to a history of having bad experiences with various addiction support services. 

We were able to arrange for a worker from the drug service to come on early morning outreach. The worker was able to engage well with the client concerning their substance misuse & spoke to him about the possibility of getting scripted. We were able to confirm that TDC would be prepared to offer a STAR flat, if he was engaging with the drug service.

Due to this flexible approach, the clients’ fears about accessing drug treatment were allayed and they began to attend appointments which led to a script for the first time in over 4 years. Both workers then advocated with TDC, who were able to offer an emergency B&B and then his own STAR flat.

*Name changed to protect anonymity