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"Volunteering for CGL"

About: Change Grow Live / North West Recovery Service - Edinburgh

(as a volunteer/advocate),

I used heroin for 22 years as a way to run from my fears, and hide from my feelings as they always were bad.

So I have a lot of lived experience as an addict, drug user.

More recently I found recovery and am now 32 months clean. My recovery plan is driven by me, but I have had support along the way from C.G.L and they signposted me towards S.M.A.R.T meetings where I learned to live life on life's terms good or bad without the need to use drugs.

I volunteer for C.G.L now as much as I can because I am grateful for recovery and believe if you do good for others good things will come to you.

When I heard about C.G.L training peers and getting Naloxone out into the community I wanted to get involved.

I joined the training course a bit later than some and was a bit anxious, but glad to be around people who seemed confident and more capable than myself. I would borrow bits from them to feed my own needs as usual and my ability would grow.

Training started with "what does an overdose look like". Even though I had used for all those years I was fortunate that I never went over or used with anyone that did! The training taught us how to use Naloxone and that phoning for an ambulance is the most important thing. Naloxone is effective for 20 minutes or so and if the first dose you give doesn't bring someone round after 2 minutes you can redose. The bottom line is that this gives you time for the medics to arrive and can help save a life.

After training I knew what to do but I still had this issue " how do you walk up to a stranger and say I think you need Naloxone". I was intimidated by the idea of labelling someone as a drug user and scared of their reaction and felt it could possibly end badly. But I was wrong...

Even the people who weren't users were positive and were willing to take kits from us. I found this to be amazing but I shouldn't have been surprised as we all know someone still struggling with the madness.

For me it's been great to be involved as it's helped with my confidence. It's also helped me to take stock of myself. Speaking with drug users has been helpful for me as it's a reminder of I where I was and where I am today...

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Response from Phil Crawley, Team Leader, NW Recovery Service Edinburgh, Change Grow Live 3 months ago
Phil Crawley
Team Leader, NW Recovery Service Edinburgh,
Change Grow Live
Submitted on 23/08/2021 at 11:50
Published on Care Opinion at 12:04

Hello Indusph97,
It’s great to hear about your experiences with CGL and that it’s building your confidence.
We’re very grateful for the time and commitment that our volunteers give to the service, as you say Naloxone is a life-saving intervention and it’s so important that we get it to those most likely to need it or witness an overdose.
Keep up the good work and thankyou!

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