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Supporting drug and alcohol services to adapt their practice for autistic service users

Actions and outcomes

I met B in a drop-in session after he had been signposted to us by the Jobcentre. B was unsure what support he wanted, but after completing the Outcome Star we were able to identify some goals. The main barriers B was experiencing were in relation to his autism and substance misuse issues.  Previous intervention from the Drug and Alcohol Service had not been successful as B felt he was not understood by the service. B struggled to understand the concept of ‘recovery’ and was not able to utilise the strategies recommended. However, B agreed to a re-referral to Drug & Alcohol Services when the IAS offered to provide advice, consultation and additional support to the service to help them to adapt their practice.

Some of the interventions used to support B:

  1. Advice and consultation to Drug & Alcohol Services to support them to adapt their practice.
  2. Fortnightly meetings with a support worker from a Drug & Alcohol Service.
  3. A drink diary to record the amount of alcohol consumed.
  4. We discussed and identified the feelings associated with being drunk with B.
  5. We explored safe ways to reduce the amount of alcohol being consumed with B.
  6. Weekly phone calls to B to support him to implement strategies.
  7. Signposted B to organisations and courses to occupy his time.
  8. B attended virtual post diagnostic course to learn more about his autism.

The outcomes of these interventions were measured via Outcome Star. Working collaboratively with the Drug and Alcohol Service has given B the best possible support. To date he has been abstinent from alcohol for 16 weeks and is actively engaging in the recovery programme. His physical health, wellbeing and self-esteem has improved.


B was very appreciative of the support he received from Gwent IAS. The support has improved his wellbeing and allowed him to access other vital services.

Lessons Learned

Working collaboratively with other services to help them to adapt their practice can improve accessibility for autistic people, which can significantly improve their wellbeing.


Health Board:
Aneurin Bevan University Health Board
Local Authority:
Integrated Autism Service: