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Substance Misuse Training Courses
Workforce Development


Workforce development courses, delivered by Alan Matthews, at your workplace or a local venue of your choice, are an effective solution to stretched budgets and reduced resources and can be adapted to suit your strategic objectives and workforce development requirements.


Identification and Brief Advice
(One Day)


Course description

Alcohol consumption by those not considered dependent is now a major concern. This one-day course will provide non-specialist workers with the confidence and skills to raise awareness of alcohol risks in generic settings. Early identification of drinking patterns and brief advice on risk factors has been shown to be effective in reducing alcohol consumption.

The course includes

  • Prevalence and nature of use.
  • How much is too much? Understanding and calculating units.
  • Alcohol myths and facts.
  • Identification and Brief Advice.
  • Changing behaviour: the Cycle of Change.
  • Screening/Identification and brief advice: initial and specialist assessment
  • What is Screening/Identification?
  • Screening tools: AUDIT; FAST; SIPS; TWEAK, etc.
  • Practice issues. Using the screening tools in an interview situation. Interviewer, interviewee and observer.

Learning objectives

  • To explore ways of working effectively with alcohol brief interventions
  • To increase confidence in working with alcohol brief interventions
  • To identify interventions to encourage clients to drink less
  • To identify referral pathways to specialist services 

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Drug Futures
New and Emerging Synthetic Compounds
(One Day)


Course description

Concern over so-called ‘Legal Highs’ reached fever pitch recently as Mephedrone grabbed media attention, with a flurry of sensational news stories dubbing it the latest “killer drug”. But Mephedrone, a relative newcomer to the British drugs scene, is only the tip of the iceberg - underground chemists have hundreds of new compounds lined up for manufacture.

So, how can we keep abreast of new and emerging compounds, and what advice can we give to users? This one-day course will review the history of synthetic drugs, highlight developments in this growing phenomenon and consider harm reduction advice for users.

Learning Objectives

  • To review the history and pharmacology of synthetic drugs
  • To enhance understanding of the effects and risks of synthetic drugs

  • To raise awareness of the needs of users of synthetic drugs

  • To increase awareness of harm reduction interventions with users of
    synthetic drugs

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Alcohol & the Family
(1 day)


This one-day course is designed for anyone working with families where alcohol is an issue, to help identify and enhance protective parenting. Alcohol is probably the most common intoxicant in use in our society and in moderation, for most, it causes few problems. However, alcohol misuse, binge drinking and dependence within the family can cause serious harm to children. This course highlights effective parenting skills and aims to help workers support those affected by alcohol. It is often quicker and more effective to bring about changes in parenting rather than changes in drinking.

Learning objectives

  • To examine the impact of alcohol misuse on children and families
  • To highlight the effects, risks and harms associated with alcohol use
  • To highlight alcohol interventions such as screening and brief interventions
  • To explore methods of enhancing protective parenting in the family
Associated DANOS Competencies
  • AB9 Work in collaboration with carers in the caring role
  • AB10 Relate to families, parents and carers
  • AD1 Raise awareness about substances, their use and effects

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Drugs Awareness
(1 day)


This one-day course provides a sound knowledge base on drug-related issues for those working with young families where drug use is may be a concern. For many, drug use is an emotive issue where, all too often, workers feel they may lack specific knowledge and are unsure about how to respond. This course covers: the patterns of drug use from the 1960s to the present; how drugs work and what different drugs do; understanding drug-related behaviour; risk and protective factors for dependence; as well as practice issues to raise awareness of potential for harm.

Learning objectives

  • To review the changing patterns and trends in drug use
  • To improve knowledge of the effects and risks of all psychoactive substances
  • To understand the relationship between drug, set and setting
  • To gain insight into drug using behaviour and parental responsibilities.

This course supports the following DANOS units

  • AB2 Support individuals who are substance users
  • AB5 Assess and act upon immediate risk of danger to substance users
  • AC1 Reflect on and develop your practice
  • AD1 Raise awareness about substances, their use and effect

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Advance Drugs Awareness
Working with problem drug use
(1 day)


This one-day course has been designed for workers who may encounter problem drug use within families and need to gain a better understanding of the issues. Supporting families of problem drug users can provide a range of challenges for workers and these are explored using video examples. Understanding dependence and the role of drug treatment is vital if workers are to engage effectively, provide support and improve outcomes for children affected by their parent’s drug use.

Learning objectives

  • To explore the issues and challenges of working with problem drug use.
  • To gain insight into the concepts of dependence.
  • To explore strategies that may help in facilitating change.
  • To gain an understanding of different treatment approaches for problem drug use.

This course supports the following DANOS units

  • AA1 Recognise indications of substance misuse and refer individuals to specialists
  • AB2 Support individuals who are substance users
  • AB5 Assess and act upon immediate risk of danger to substance users
  • AC1 Develop your own knowledge and practice
  • AD1 Raise awareness about substances their use and effects

Enquire about this course


These courses can be commissioned as in-house training for your group, staff team or organisation.

For details and pricing, contact Alan at 
or call 0151 703 2317. Mob 07850 154 031

Alan also presents some of these courses at HIT. Individuals who wish to attend these courses can go to