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Northumbria Community Rehabilitation Company

image: Recovery centre


Drugs and alcohol

Stopping drug and alcohol misuse is identified as one of the key pathways out of offending.


The government estimates that crimes related to drugs cost the UK £15.4 billion every year.

Offenders often commit acquisitive crimes, such as theft and burglary, to fund their drug habits. This can lead to homelessness and other social problems.

Probation staff work with partner agencies including Changing Lives and Neca to provide individuals with advice and support in their recovery from drug addiction. This can include referrals to community support groups, as well as appointments included in the sentence plan.

Drug rehabilitation requirement

The drug rehabilitation requirement (DRR) is for offenders with serious drug abuse problems and offending behaviour linked to these problems. The aim is to help offenders achieve a drug and crime free lifestyle.

Offenders complete a full programme of activities based around their drug misuse and lifestyle related issues. This usually includes:

  • appointments with drug treatment agencies
  • attending the Building Skills for Recovery programme
  • engaging in up to 15 hours structured activity to help develop social support networks and avoid further drug misuse and offending.

Offenders are subject to regular drug testing as part of their sentence and can be breached if they are unable to provide clean samples.

DRR also includes a long term rehabilitation programme of treatment and support to help offenders break away from drug addiction and offending. The process can continue long after the offender has completed their sentence.


In the UK, alcohol misuse contributes significantly to criminal and anti social behaviour. Research carried out by Newcastle University indicates that 30 - 35% of the offenders we supervise in Northumbria could be harmful or dependent drinkers.  

Northumbria CRC works with Neca (North East Council on Addictions) to provide alcohol treatment and support for those offenders who need it, as part of their sentence plan. Probation staff and specialist NECA staff work with offenders to determine their alcohol misuse and the impact it has on their lifestyle and offending behaviour.

Offenders take part in a short series of brief intervention sessions, designed to raise awareness of the amount and pattern of alcohol use, the risk to their health and the impact on their lives. We then look at ways to help individuals change and reduce their patterns of alcohol use.

Alcohol treatment requirement

The alcohol treatment requirement (ATR) is for offenders who have a serious alcohol dependency or whose alcohol misuse is a contributing factor in their offending, particularly where the offence involves violence. The aim is to reduce or eliminate the offender’s dependency on alcohol.

Offenders complete a full programme of activities based around their alcohol abuse and associated behaviour. This usually includes:

  • appointments with alcohol treatment agencies
  • undergoing a community based alcohol detox
  • attending the Building Skills for Recovery programme
  • work with a recovery support or mutual aid service to support recovery and address issues of dependency

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