07 December 2017
treatment is probably the best place really for you to be
successful." - Ana, former heroin user and Drugsland
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
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
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.