Harbour Recovery Centre

The Drug and Alcohol Action Team (DAAT) commissions an inpatient detoxification unit, the Harbour Recovery Centre (HRC), to provide male only self-referral access to non-injecting Opiate users with no significant physical or mental health issues. Despite ongoing work by the provider and Tower Hamlets DAAT, this particular model is not as successful as we want in delivering long lasting freedom from drug addiction for those who use the service. Stand-alone detoxification interventions without follow-up treatment are no longer seen as good practice.

Further evidence shows that service users of the centre often complete their detoxification but, then, do not then engage with other support services. This results in them coming back for further detoxification and the cycle continues.

Proposed solution

The centre is relatively small and due to the staffing requirements of a residential facility, it is expensive in terms of unit price. It also does not meet the requirements of the wider needs of the drug/alcohol misusing clients of Tower Hamlets. It is necessary to look again at this model of inpatient detoxification to make sure that we meet the wider treatment needs of drug users, alcohol users, men and women with complex mental health needs, physical disability, injectors, non-injectors, and others.

Clearly, this decision could raise concerns about a reduction in services for a vulnerable client group. However, the intention is clear that more effective residential treatment options would continue to be provided across the Borough as well as at other specialist rehabilitation centres across the country.

Additionally, there is already a detoxification unit in Tower Hamlets. Greig House is based next to Harbour Recovery Centre (HRC) and is used for individuals who do not fit HRC criteria. As a result, local clients needing inpatient detoxification could still be treated within the borough on a spot purchase basis without the need to commit to an annual spend, and ultimately providing better value for money. 

The council is now consulting on the proposals to decommission the Harbour Recovery Centre and use that funding to purchase inpatient detoxification services from a variety of specialist agencies based on individual need of each client.