We are running a new Beat The Winter Blues campaign aimed at helping people who use our services, as well as the wider public, through the darkest depths of winter.

Research* has highlighted the particular problems associated with depression around Christmas, especially in groups who have substance misuse issues. To help people battle through winter we will be promoting #BeatTheWinterBlues.

Emily Todd, Regional Director at Calderdale Recovery Steps said: “We know that short days and long, dark nights of winter can have a negative effect on people’s mind-sets. We are hoping these suggestions for overcoming the winter blues will help people get over any self-defeating thoughts and feel good through the winter.”

A selection of new posters and social media messages have been developed and circulated so users of our services can easily see and understand these messages. The aim to enhance awareness on how to beat the blues this winter, with themes ranging from friendship, health and leisure.

Staff and service users are also being encouraged to share their own ideas on how to stave of the blue on social media accounts using the hashtag #BeatTheWinterBlues.

*Leo Sher, Alcoholism and seasonal affective disorder, Comprehensive Psychiatry


Calderdale Recovery Steps is supporting a national campaign in Alcohol Awareness Week to help people who may have increased their drinking during the pandemic.

Adele Molyneux, Area Manager at Calderdale Recovery Steps said: “The stresses and strains of lockdown and the pandemic have seen more people in England consuming more alcohol.

“Lives have been turned upside down. People have new financial worries. The people we’re seeing can feel more lonely and cut off from family and friends.”

Alcohol Awareness Week, which runs from 16th to 22nd November aims to encourage people to become aware of the health consequences of how much they are drinking. This year it has a theme of alcohol and mental health.

Adele encouraged local people who may be concerned about their alcohol consumption to get in touch. They were also now able to take an Alcohol Test to review their consumption and monitor it with a free DrinkCoach app.

The Royal College of Psychiatrists estimates that in June, more than 8.4 million people in England were drinking at higher-risk levels, up from 4.8 million in February 2020.

Mark Holmes, of DrinkCoach: “If you’re concerned about your drinking, you can monitor your drinking on our free app, reflect on it and set yourself some goals. Our website has lots of information, especially around mental health and on there you can take the Alcohol Test to get some honest feedback on your drinking, and that’s really important.”

The Calderdale Recovery Steps service is joining over 3,000 other organisations across the country to raise awareness of the link between alcohol and mental health for Alcohol Awareness Week.

Nalaxone kits help prevent overdose and death

Calderdale Recovery Steps drug and alcohol service is helping to raise awareness of how you can help in the event of witnessing an overdose.

To mark International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD), which is held globally each year on August 31st, Calderdale Recovery Steps HOPE worker Esi Stanley said: “We want everyone to understand that overdose deaths are preventable.”

Across the world, IOAD aims to improve understanding of overdose and to encourage changes that help to reduce the harms associated with drug use.

Esi said: “People are at most risk of overdose when they may have had a break from using drugs, or if they have recently left detox/rehab or custody and the variety in purity of street drugs can also pose an overdose risk.”

Calderdale Recovery Steps is reminding people who seek support to ask about getting a Naloxone kit so they can keep it on hand.

Naloxone is the emergency antidote for overdoses caused by heroin and other opioids. When injected into someone experiencing the effects of opioid overdose, it temporarily reverses the overdose effect, helping the patient to revive. Workers in the hubs will show people who want to take a kit, how to use it.

Esi continued: “Naloxone is readily available for free from us, as well as from local pharmacies. We want everyone to carry a naloxone kit because naloxone saves lives. We have delivered naloxone training and naloxone kits to people at their homes, and also delivered training and kits to support staff in key services.

And she continued: “The safest choice is not to use drugs at all, but if you do use drugs, do not use alone – if you use alone then you’re not able to use naloxone. Be sure of the nature of the drugs you’re using and if you’re not sure of the quality take small dose, wait and gauge your reaction.”

The last published statistics show there were 4,359 drug related deaths in England and Wales in 2018. This is the highest number of deaths since records began in 1993. Since 2012, rates of drug-related poisonings have generally been on an upward trend.

If you would like to speak to someone in confidence about yours or someone else’s drug or alcohol use, then contact Calderdale Recovery Steps on 01422 415550.


Calderdale Recovery Steps has signed up to a new Hepatitis C Action Plan to mark World Hepatitis Day on 28th July.

The action plan aims to further increase testing for Hepatitis C, ensuring specialist pathways and onsite treatment for the virus.

Adele Molyneux, Area Manager of the Calderdale drug and alcohol recovery service, said: “We know that Hepatitis C is most commonly spread through blood-to-blood contact, such as sharing needles.

We are fully behind this plan because it will be of real benefit for the lives of the people who use our service across the county.”

The plan by Humankind, which is the lead partner in Calderdale Recovery Steps, is in response to a recent government report, which stated that across the country, people are not getting access to needle and syringe services as they should.  The charity has said there should be “no closed doors” in any of its services.

Among a list of pledges set out in the plan, the organisation states it will

  • Invest in staff to increase testing rates and re-testing rates of people at risk
  • invest in training for staff to ensure we have a skilled workforce
  • allow time for data inputting
  • ensure testing provision is across the whole treatment system
  • reach out to people not registered with its services
  • commit to listening to what people who use its services say on how best to tackle the issue.

Meanwhile, Calderdale Recovery Steps is joining a national campaign to raise awareness of Hepatitis C and the fact it can now be cured by a simple course of tablets.

On World Hepatitis Day, the organisation, along with a range of other charities, NHS Trusts and the Hep C Trust are backing the Hep C U Later campaign online and within its services.

Adele said: “Our message is that this virus can be treated and can actually be cured easily!

“It’s not like the old treatment which lasted for months and sometimes had side effects. The success rate for this short course of tablets is much higher and it’s unlikely you’ll feel ill.”


Drug and alcohol recovery workers at Calderdale Recovery Steps say they are “here to help” people who have become more dependent during the pandemic.

Operations Director Emily Todd said: “We believe some people may be misusing drink and drugs to cope with boredom, stress, anxiety about the future, about job insecurity and job loss. They may have troubles within their relationships.

“We would like people to know we’re here to help them with any concerns or worries that they may have. Our friendly workers offer a full range of supportive services. They will work with you and develop a plan to deal with the issues you are facing.”

The Global Drugs Survey (GDS) found that more than 55% of British drinkers who responded reported an increase in the number of days they consumed alcohol each week during the COVID-19 lockdown, with 33% of people reporting an increase in binge drinking.

Almost 44% of British cannabis users reported the number of days they were using products containing THC had increased, whilst over a third of benzodiazepine users said the number of days they were using had increased.

Having more time on your hands and being bored are given as the main reasons for increasing the use of THC and benzodiazepine, with secondary factors including addressing mood and worries.

Emily explained that some people may not want to start to deal with issues or they may be worried about their safety or privacy. People may be thinking it wasn’t an ideal time to start dealing with this issue and they may also be worried about their safety should they begin counselling.

“We understand just how difficult things are at the moment and as a service we’re committed to continue to help those people seeking our support.”

Almost all appointments are taking place on the telephone, or via online Zoom meetings for both one to one and group discussions. This allows people to access services from the comfort of their home and to interact with others who are also receiving support.  Face-to-face appointments are available when needed, with steps in place to ensure people are kept as safe as possible.

To find out more, please call us on 01422 415550 for more details on how we can help.

The GDS special edition on Covid-19 has been developed to understand the impact of the pandemic on people’s lives, with a specific focus on the use of alcohol and other drugs, mental health and relationships.


Naloxone Update

We’ve uploaded two videos on Naloxone – please watch them both to see how important a Naloxone kit could be and how we can help you secure one.

At this difficult time it is important to look after those and anyone you are lucky enough to have around you. If you have concerns for yourself or anyone around you then please contact Calderdale Recovery Steps on 01422 415550 and ask about naloxone kits.

Essential Journey Cards

We have created these essential journey cards, in partnership with Release, for you to use should you need to leave the house to pick up your medication or harm reduction equipment, or both. These can be printed out or downloaded to your phone. Complete the details of your service in the space available in case they need to be contacted.

CRS Essential Journey Cards

Important service update

We’re open and ready to support you

We are open and continue to deliver services to those requiring support.

Our phone number for people who use our service – 01422 415550 – is still open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday

We will be offering telephone appointments where possible and appropriate.

All group activities and group work are off until further notice – both within our Hubs and in the community. Service users that would ordinarily attend these groups will be offered ongoing support via telephone appointment.

We continue to accept new referrals. Please contact us directly if you would like to refer anyone for support.

Pharmacies We continue to work closely with Pharmacies in order to ensure all of our service users who have prescribing needs are supported and cared for safely.

GPs We are contacting all GP surgeries where we would ordinarily offer a Shared Care provision to discuss individual contingency management plans.

Needle Exchange and Naloxone service is still offered.

It is essential that we continue to maximise our harm reduction interventions wherever possible at this time, including needle exchange, naloxone provision and safe storage advice.

If you have any questions or queries with regards any of the above please do not hesitate to contact us directly on 01422 415550.

Please click here for Calderdale Council’s updating page on Coronavirus advice and information

Thank you and Warm Regards