Changes to Bristol’s drug and alcohol services announced: ROADS

31 Oct 2017

Public Health

Changes to Bristol’s drug and alcohol services announced

Bristol City Council has announced changes to drug and alcohol treatment services in the city to help people access the support they need to recover.

The changes come following a competitive recommissioning process, which was undertaken to refresh the services available and increase support within communities as existing contracts came to an end.

The treatment services, known as ROADS (Recovery Orientated Alcohol and Drugs Service), are designed to reduce drug and alcohol related deaths and support people to successfully complete treatment. Bristol has a high number of people using opiates and it is estimated that around 18 in every 1,000 adults are affected.

Councillor Asher Craig, Cabinet Member for communities, said: “Addressing drug and alcohol addiction is one of our key public health concerns and the value of effective treatment services is well established. The council is facing significant financial pressures so there is less money available for commissioning, but we are continuing to invest heavily in order to support the people most in need. We have looked closely at how we can build on the good work of current providers so people can access help at the right time and in the right way.”

The new model for ROADS will provide more support for people struggling with alcohol dependency to detox within their community and try to get more people into recovery at an earlier stage. It is also built to be flexible and able to respond to changes in drug use and trends, such as the emergence of new psychoactive substances. The new contracts, which have all been awarded to local providers, will start on 1 February 2018 and run for five years initially, with the option to extend for up to nine years.

Pete Anderson, Safer Bristol Manager and lead commissioner, said: “Overcoming problematic drug or alcohol use is extremely difficult and there are many reasons that people may relapse or need to have many attempts to recover. With the new ROADS services we’ve tried to look at the problem from lots of different angles and utilise local expertise.”

ROADS is made up of a range of different elements including; Early Engagement and Intervention, targeting people not currently in treatment; Substance Misuse Liaison, which will work alongside GP surgeries to support people detoxing from alcohol or addressing the use of opiates; Community Recovery, to co-ordinate people’s care locally, prevent relapse and provide one to one and group support; Family and Carers, to support families, carers and friends of people affected by substance misuse and Residential Rehab places.

The new model also contains a service geared towards supporting those with particularly complex needs, helping people to overcome barriers to starting treatment and also improve access to mental health treatment. This element of the contract has not been awarded yet as no bidder was found so the council is re-evaluating how best to meet people’s needs. The current ROADS contracts will run until 1 February 2018 to ensure people continue to be supported until a new provider is appointed.

Specialist nurses and midwife services working within the city’s hospitals form another part of the model and will connect people admitted to hospital with treatment services in the community. The final element is housing support for people with drug and alcohol problems which were recently commissioned as part of the homelessness prevention accommodation service for adults.

For more information about the current ROADS service and to find out about the support available visit:


Notes to editors:

More information on funding:

In Bristol over £8m per year is spent on substance misuse services from the public health grant and other council funding streams. The council has reduced its investment in these services by 10% which is in line with its corporate plan for saving over £100 million. A 5% reduction on the Public Health grant has also been planned for over the five years of the contracts so overall the funding available for commissioned services has reduced by £1.4m a year.

More details on the new model and which organisations will deliver services:

The Early Engagement and Intervention service will focus on engaging with people who are not currently receiving any treatment. This service includes outreach, needle exchange and clinical interventions such as wound care and supporting the identification and prevention of blood borne diseases. Bristol Drugs Project (BDP) will deliver this service with input from local charity Stand Against Racism and Inequality (SARI) the Independent Futures Group Bristol (IF Group Bristol) as well as BrisDoc and the Avon Wiltshire Partnership (AWP).

The Substance Misuse Liaison service will work alongside up to 50 GP Practices and pharmacies to support people accessing alcohol detoxes or opiate substitution therapy. This service will be working with over 2,000 people a year. Bristol Drugs Project (BDP) will deliver this service with input from SARI and IF Group Bristol.

The Community Recovery service will operate from various sites across the city to comprehensively assess an individual’s needs and coordinate their care across ROADS. The service will deliver a range of support via one to ones and group work to support people on their recovery journey. A key part of this is preventing relapse, linking into support in local communities and training people with experience of substance misuse and homelessness to help others. Developing Health and Independence (DHI) will deliver this and subcontract elements to local charity Hawkspring.

The Family and Carers support service will focus on the needs of families, carers and friends of people affected by substance misuse. This has been jointly commissioned with South Gloucestershire and Bath & North East Somerset Councils and will be delivered by Developing Health and Independence.

Residential rehab places will be provided by a number of organisations including, but not limited to: Addaction, Hebron Trust, The Salvation Army, THOMAS, Western Counselling.