Hackney DAAT makes SMART move

This September, Hackney’s Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT) is introducing a self-help group known as Self Management and Recovery Training (SMART) to help meet the needs of local drug and alcohol treatment clients.

SMART self help groups, which were launched in the United States nearly twenty years ago, aim to support those seeking abstinence from addictive behaviours, so they can gain independence, achieve recovery and lead meaningful and satisfying lives. So far there are 89 SMART groups operating across the UK.

All groups are led by local professionals and facilitators, who are in turn supported by professional addiction advisors and a national board of addiction specialists who offer ongoing facilitator training.

Hackney’s SMART group will be led by Mark Dempster (Hackney DAAT) and Kevin Patterson (Westminster Drug Project), two local substance misuse practitioners with many years of group work experience between them. Methods used in the sessions include Motivational Enhancement Therapy, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy to help develop self empowerment.

The group attendees will work through 4 main themes together: enhancing and maintaining motivation to abstain; coping with urges; problem solving; and lifestyle balance.

Hackney’s SMART group, based at the Elizabeth Fry Centre on Tudor Grove, E9, will be held between 2 and 3.30pm each Friday afternoon, in response to requests from local treatment service users, who asked for additional support in the immediate run-up to the weekend.

Councillor Jonathan McShane, Cabinet Member for Health, Social Care and Culture, says “SMART groups have been successful elsewhere, and represent yet another way in which those with substance abuse problems in the borough can - with the support of their local DAAT - help themselves to lead a life of abstinence.”