Bristol

Bristol BAME community drug support volunteers sought

Drugs Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption People from Muslim and BAME communities are under represented in drug and alcohol support services in Bristol

Volunteer "community champions" are being recruited in Bristol to help Muslims and other faith groups who are affected by drugs and alcohol.

The volunteers, who would mainly come from BAME communities, would receive training on the effects of substance misuse and how users can access help.

They would then offer support to people with addiction problems.

The project is being developed by local groups Bristol Drugs Project and Stand Against Racism & Inequality.

SARI team leader Helal Ali said more work was needed to "overcome the shame and stigma" of drugs.

"The levels of stress and anxiety in some communities can make them turn to drugs and alcohol," said Mr Ali, who has been "clean and sober" since overcoming drug and alcohol problems 12 years ago.

"Parents and families may have less awareness and therefore not recognise the symptoms and may not be able to or want to challenge."

Image copyright Helal Ali
Image caption Helal Ali said "we need more specialist BAME and faith-led roles, and services and drop-ins in the community, in places people feel safe to visit"

Maggie Telfer, from BDP, said: "The role is intended to bridge barriers which people from Muslim and other faith groups in particular can face in getting help with their own or a family member's use of alcohol and other drugs."

SARI director Alex Raikes said: "We don't have enough specialist workers and services who understand the specific barriers and needs of our BME communities when it comes to tackling addiction.

"These community champions will help to connect with people in need and then to support them to seek the right help."

The first session runs on 20 March at Greenbank Mosque at 10:00 GMT.

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