KFx - Learning of Substance
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Drugs, Premises, Housing and Law courses

Kevin Flemen is the UK's leading provider and developer of resources and training on the management of drug use on site in a variety of settings especially in supported housing settings. Over more than a decade, through a programme of literature development, training and consultancy, numerous housing providers, DATs and Supporting People teams have been able to access high quality information and support.

KFx offers a range of training courses for drugs and housing providers. Each of these courses can be tailored to individual needs. Careful discussion is required to ensure that the correct courses are run at the correct time, to minimise the need to re-run courses.

Strategic Planning of Drugs and Housing Courses

Having worked with numerous organisations on an individual and a regional basis we have developed several different training pathways that we know deliver the best results:

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Training Pathways

If working at a regional or strategic level, it is generally useful to offe a "Drugs Housing and Homelessness - Strategic Issues" course first. This gives key local providers a chance to explore local need, models that have been developed and have worked elsewhere and can act as a catalyst and springboard for local development.

Having identified local agencies who wish to review and develop their provision, we would propose running a two-day "Drugs and Housing - The Law and Good Practice" course. This unique course, currently the only one in the UK, looks in detail at the Misuse of Drugs Act (especially Section 8), the Antisocial Behaviour Act and related legislation. It looks at legal and practice issues in the management of possession, use, supply, production, paraphernalia, storage and other keys issues. It provides enough depth and back-up resources to allow managers and team leaders to review and revise policy and practice.

We advocate running this course at this stage; experience shows that if organisations run a course for front-line workers prematurely, it generates a mass of feedback for managers who may not be fully au fait with all the issues, and need to be trained themselves.

Once the process of managerial training and policy revision has been undertaken, training can be rolled out to front line staff and team leaders.

Over the years we have developed a range of tailored courses and the three examples above can be further refined to reflect specific organisational need.

The "Working with drug users in Housing Settings" is similar to the Law and Good Practice two dayer, but there is less emphasis on the legal detail and more exploration of the practical and skills based issues. It is intended for housing and support workers who will be encountering significant levels of drug use on a regular basis and need to be confident that their interventions are safe, therapeutic and legal.

For workers who have lower levels of contact with on-going use, and who need to manage incidents safely and then refer on to support or management staff, the one-day course Working With Drug Use in Housing Settings (one day) is sufficient. It provides an overview of the law and of safe management of key situations.

Finally for workers who may encounter drug litter, paraphernalia or discarded drugs, "The Sharp End" is a practical, no-nonsense course that looks at how to address drug litter from a single syringe to an abandoned property.

When working in-house with a single agency, it is invariably useful to run a two-day "Drugs and Housing - The Law and Good Practice" for senior workers and then run courses for other workers as required.

When tailoring courses, the following key variables are usually important:

Culture of the organisation: if the organisation does not primarily work (or intend to work) with ongoing use, and the primary responses will be warnings and exclusion, then less time will be needed to explore the nuances of the legal position, or how to manage ongoing use. For workers who wish to work with regular use, especially problematic and dependent use, more extensive training is beneficial.

Skills base: none of these courses are "drugs awareness" courses as such; they do not address reasons for drug use or facts about drugs. For workers who intend to support drug users, the Introduction to Drugs Course would provide a better foundation before taking on the Drugs and The Law Courses. However for workers who encounter drug use infrequently, need basic knowledge and how to respond to incidents, it may be feasible to run a hybrid course which provides basic drug facts along with information about managing incidents.

Management structure: the more decision making responsibility that a worker has, the more appropriate it will be for workers to have attended one of the two day courses. For workers whose key responsibility is to "make safe and refer" a one day course will be adequate.

Below are examples of how KFx has worked with different organisations to tailor a package which reflected the purchaser's needs:

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KFx examples

A Core Competencies Course for Housing Drug Users

By combining three modules from our course list, it is feasible to provide a comprehensive practical training package for workers and managers in housing settings where drug use is an issue.

The training is designed to run in three two-day blocks. This includes a foundation drugs awareness module, a drugs and the law module and a skills-based working with drug using module.

The course reflects the 'Key Standards for Drugs and Housing' which KFx is developing. The training also mirrors areas of DANOS of relevance to housing providers.

The training also dovetails with the widely-used 'Sample Drugs Policy.'

What does the course cover:

Days 1&2

Introduction to drugs:

This is a foundation drugs course and provides an essential introduction to the main drugs.

[notes: this module would be waived where workers had already undertaken previous basic drugs awareness training; a short assessment exercise could be used to review levels and nature of knowledge]

Days 3 &4

Drugs and Premises - the Law and Good Practice

Day 5 & 6

Working with Drug Users in Housing Settings

This is a skilled base module, which looks at the knowledge and skills required to implement key interventions with drug users in housing settings. The course includes:

Consultancy Services

In addition to the core training that we offer, we are also able to offer a consultancy service for housing or other providers regarding this complex subject area. This includes:

To discuss any training and consultancy needs in this area, please get in touch.

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