Volunteers are being recruited in Bristol to help people who have been suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. These volunteers – mostly from BAME communities – would undergo a series of training about the effects that substance abuse has on people and the help that these users can receive. After the training, these volunteers are expected to offer support and help to people who are suffering from addiction. The first training for the volunteers will be held at Greenbank Mosque on March 20 at 10:00 GMT.
Two local groups are developing this project: Stand Against Racism and Inequality (SARI) and Bristol Drugs Project (BDP). The leader of SARI, Helal Ali, who used to be addicted to the influence, but has overcome and been clean of all substances and alcohol for twelve years, stated that there was still more work to be done in order to overcome the stigma and shame of the drugs. He added that stress and anxiety push people to take drugs and alcohol.
Maggie Telfer, a member of BDP, said that parents and families might have less awareness and that they might not be able to recognize the symptoms, resulting in them not being able to help. She also said that the role of this project and of the volunteers would be to break down those barriers that Muslims and other faith groups face when they want to get help for a family member’s use and abuse of drugs and alcohol or for their own.
The director of SARI stated that they didn’t have enough specialist workers and services that understand the barriers and needs of their BAME communities, especially when it comes to tackling addiction. The SARI director added that this project would help connect the volunteers, who are also referred to as community champions with the people in need.