Keys group Specialist Substance Misuse Advisor
Substance misuse is one of many forms of risk-taking behaviour, but it can also be an indicator of other (potentially hidden) difficulties with identity formation or childhood adversity. For some young people, the use of drugs or alcohol is a form of ‘self- medication’, which enables them to relieve stress, or block emotionally distressing thoughts. This usage can be heightened amongst groups of children who face additional complexities in their lives, including looked after children. It is widely accepted that these children and young people are more susceptible to substance use, either recreationally, regularly or addictively.
Fran Gracie is Keys Group’s substance misuse specialist advisor. Her main purpose is ensuring that young people are kept safe from harm and that they are supported with a reduction in their substance use, particularly when they pose risks to their physical health and/or emotional well-being. She aims to:-
- Support staff in keeping the young people’s substance use to a minimum (by lessening the amount and/or frequency)
- Reduce the presence of polysubstance use
- Help children and young people understand the harmful effects of substance use and to implement harm reduction/harm minimisation strategies.
- Educate staff in the delivery of interventions with young people via consultation
- Deliver training with staff on all substances, looking at current trends and the sharing of intelligence on drug alerts within the UK