07 December 2017


Acer"Residential treatment is probably the best place really for you to be successful." - Ana, former heroin user and Drugsland participant

Our very own Acer Unit - one of only two NHS specialist detox units of its kind - features in the BBC's hard-hitting new documentary series, Drugsland.

Drugsland follows people involved with substance misuse in Bristol over a year. Each programme focuses on a different aspect of drug problems in the city and features the stories of a diverse range of people including those directly impacted by addiction as well as the police, council and partner agencies directly involved in tackling drug-related issues in the city, AWP being just one of them.

The series takes an honest but compassionate look at a spectrum of issues including the link between drug use and sex working, victims of drug-related crime, rough sleeping and the practices and territorial politics of drug dealing. The programmes are all the more powerful due to the courage of the drug users, former drug users and families who took part.

One particularly poignant story follows rough sleepers Rich and Jolene, as they break injunctions by begging in Trenchard Street car park to fund heavy heroin and crack use. Their struggles to break the cycle, get clean, get access to accommodation and build a future together bring home the desperation and self-perpetuating nature of addiction. The efforts of the police and partner organisations to give them opportunities show the compassion with which agencies in Bristol are approaching the problem.

The third programme in the series follows Tom as he undergoes his fifth detox at Acer Unit. His experiences demonstrate the absolutely critical value of very specialised services such as those provided by the Acer team and the immense value placed on the service by those who benefit from it. Tom's story also highlights unaddressed emotional issues as a common underlying problem behind much addiction.

The team at Acer did an fantastic job of accommodating filming and supporting Tom through the filming process on top of supporting him through detox.

You can watch all four episodes of Drugsland including episode 3, Dying to Get Clean in which Acer is featured, on on the BBC iPlayer now.

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