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Hi we can help! Drug treatment website launches in York

A new online service has been launched by York’s Substance Misuse Partnership to help and support drug users, their families and local drug action teams.

hiwecanhelp.com provides first time users, their families and other health workers  with quick, easy access to local and national sources of support dedicated to helping them beat drug and alcohol addictions.

The brainchild of Roweena Russell, a former Harm Reduction Strategy Manager, based in North East England, the online package delivered by ‘hi’ is tailored to meet the needs of local Drug Action Teams.  Roweena is responsible for the management and ongoing development of the site with support from NHS Innovations North.

York’s Substance Misuse Partnership is one of 13 similar national partnerships that have successfully adopted the service.

The Partnership aims to bring together the right mix of organisations and voluntary groups to reduce crime and disorder in the city and reduce people’s fear of crime and disorder within their local neighbourhoods.

Karen Batters, York’s Substance Misuse business support officer, at City of York Council, said:

“It’s a fantastic resource for the council, which will help the Substance Misuse Team get helpful messages about treatment and recovery to those affected by drugs and alcohol abuse.

“While there are some national resources, there is nothing like this yet which allows us to tell people how they can find the right kind of help locally.

 “A focused marketing campaign is being implemented across the city and registrations for the website are already coming in.”

The concept for ‘hi’ has received the backing of Department of Health initiative NHS Innovations North, which is based at business services company, RTC North.

Roweena, a former North Tyneside Drug Action Team member, developed the service after spotting a direct need for better online resources and the service has already been licensed by Drug Action Teams in Newcastle, South Tyneside, Stockton, Gateshead, Northumberland, North Tyneside, Hartlepool, Sunderland, Bradford, NE Lincolnshire, Rotherham and Leeds.

Roweena explained, “hi is a comprehensive site providing clear, up-to-date information to assist the recovery process for people affected by all types of drugs. The team take a realistic view of drug treatment and provide a range of unbiased information on all aspects  of life affected by drug use.

“It’s a place where Drug Action Teams pool knowledge and where frontline staff, drug users and their families join nationwide debates about how to improve treatment and reduce the number of people turning to drugs.”

The Government continue to provide substantial investment into the community and prison drug treatment with an estimated £570 million being allocated in 2011/12.

hiwecanhelp.com has been created as a national hub to help tackle the growing problem of drug abuse. The number of drug misusers undergoing treatment has increased dramatically from 85,000 in 1998 to 192,367 in 2010. -.

As well as online discussion forums and contacts database, the site includes a host of resources for drug action teams including:

  • Relapse prevention tools or activities
  • Training materials
  • Health promotion activities
  • Recipes for the diet and nutrition
  • Referral forms
  • Drug treatment information and waiting time for treatment
  • Hepatitis C and testing treatment
  • Current Pathway documents
  • Protocols and strategies

Information about York’s Drug and Alcohol services can be found at


Media contact: Jamie Ollivere at RTC North on Tel: 01915164400 Mobile: 07950566182 or email jamie.ollivere@rtcnorth.co.uk


Karen Batters, acedat@york.gov.uk or 01904 554513
Roweena Russell, Curb Office, roweena@hiwecanhelp.com or 07957 576305
Barbara Marriner, RTC North, barbara.marriner@rtcnorth.co.uk or 01915164400

Notes to editors:

1. NHS Innovations North is one of a network of Innovation hubs across the UK set up to help make the most of new ideas within NHS Trusts and improve healthcare. Delivered in the North East by RTC North, the project will benefit from £800,501 of European Union investment from the ERDF Competitiveness Programme 2007-13, managed by regional development agency One North East. The ERDF programme is bringing over £250m into the North East to support innovation, enterprise and business support across the region. For more information on NHS Innovations North, call the team on 01915164400, email: enquiry@nhsinnovationsnorth.org.uk or visit: www.nhsinnovationsnorth.org.uk


Contacts: Jamie Ollivere at RTC North

Notes to editor: RTC North is an independent innovation agency committed to helping business and society manage change. Excelling in the areas of technology transfer, business growth and innovation management, RTC North has worked with thousands of organisations since 1989 to create jobs, wealth and a better quality of life for the people of Northern England. Today the company employs over 60 people and has offices in Sunderland, Liverpool and Leeds.

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©2015 NHS Innovations North delivers innovation on behalf of the Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria.

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