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BREAKING FREE GROUP INITIATIVE HELPS SUBSTANCE MISUSE SERVICES IN THE UK, IRELAND, GIBRALTAR AND CANADA MITIGATE THE IMPACT OF COVID-19

March 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Breaking Free Group has launched an initiative to make Breaking Free from Substance Use, its evidence-based digital intervention for drug and alcohol dependence, available free of charge to substance misuse treatment and recovery services across the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Gibraltar and Canada.   

In the UK, this initiative is being rolled out by organisations including the NHS Substance Misuse Provider Alliance (NHS SMPA), Substance Misuse Management in General Practice (SMMGP), Scottish Government and Collective Voice, the national alliance of drug and alcohol charities.

Additionally, access to the Breaking Free from Substance Use programme is being made available to service users via treatment providers in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Gibraltar; and to people being released from prison via the Ministry of Justice and Community Rehabilitation Companies.  

In Canada, at federal level the Opioid Response Team at Health Canada has cascaded access to the intervention directly through its network of addiction services and healthcare providers across all provinces, assisted by the Community Addictions Peer Support Association (CAPSA) and Canadian Centre on Substance Misuse and Addiction (CCSA). Ontario Health and Provincial Health Services Authority in British Columbia are also helping to maximise the reach of the initiative at provincial level. 

Dr Jonathan Ward, Managing Director of Breaking Free Group, said: “The social distancing measures imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are causing severe disruption to drug and alcohol services and preventing many people from accessing the interventions and support they need. We have therefore decided to make our online programme for substance dependence available free of charge to service providers. This is intended to support people who can no longer access one-to-one counselling, group interventions or peer networks, and help to alleviate the pressure on services, which are rapidly having to adapt how they operate and prioritise service users based on need. We are intending to keep extending this free access on a month-by-month basis throughout the COVID-19 crisis. We are grateful to all the stakeholders that are helping to drive out this initiative; and would encourage any treatment providers that may not yet have been engaged to contact us directly if they would like to participate.”  

Any organisation wanting to learn more about this initiative and get access to Breaking Free from Substance Use for its service users should contact us at info@breakingfreegroup.com.

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CANADIAN INSTITUTES OF HEALTH RESEARCH AWARDS GRANT FUNDING FOR STUDY OF BREAKING FREE FROM SUBSTANCE USE AT CAMH

February 2020

Canada’s federal funding agency for health research, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), has awarded a grant of $378,000 for a study to be conducted by a team of investigators from the University of Toronto, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care, Ontario Telemedicine Network, Community Addictions Peer Support Association (CAPSA) and Breaking Free Group.

Led by Dr Lena Quilty (University of Toronto and CAMH), the study is a three-arm randomized controlled trial examining the clinical impact of providing the Breaking Free from Substance Use digital intervention for Substance Use Disorder to patients at CAMH alongside peer support. A total of 225 participants will be randomized to one of three groups: 1) Breaking Free plus peer support and standard care, 2) Breaking Free plus standard care, or 3) standard care only. 

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BREAKING FREE GROUP’S DIGITAL PUBLIC HEALTH INTERVENTIONS MADE AVAILABLE ACROSS LANCASHIRE AND BLACKPOOL

January 2020

Lancashire County Council and Blackpool Council have commissioned the Lower My Drinking and My Quit Route digital platforms for preventing alcohol harm and increasing smoking quit rates, thereby giving all residents access to behavioural support.

The new commissions build upon the existing deployments of these evidence-based behaviour change interventions by the Public Health Directorates of Medway, Sandwell, Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes.

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BREAKING FREE GROUP’S DIGITAL INTERVENTION DEPLOYED TO HELP ADDRESS THE OPIOID CRISIS IN WINDSOR-ESSEX, ONTARIO

November 2019

Breaking Free Group’s evidence-based digital intervention for addressing Substance Use Disorder is to be deployed in Windsor-Essex to help address the opioid crisis and high prevalence of methamphetamine abuse in this region of Ontario.  

Due to start in April 2020, implementation of Breaking Free from Substance Use will adopt a phased approach. The program will be delivered by Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, House of Sophrosyne and other local addiction services in the first year, and then made accessible to every resident of Windsor-Essex who is experiencing difficulties with drugs or alcohol in the second year of the deployment.

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BREAKING FREE GROUP’S ALCOHOL AND SMOKING APPS APPROVED BY ORCHA

October 2019

The Lower My Drinking and My Quit Route apps for Android and iOS devices, developed by Breaking Free Group to help people in the general population reduce their drinking and quit smoking, have been approved by ORCHA following an independent review process.

ORCHA awarded the Lower My Drinking app a score of 76%, which ranked it at number 3 of 54 alcohol apps to have been approved to date. The My Quit Route app was also awarded a score of 76%, which ranked it at number 3 of 90 approved smoking cessation apps.

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BREAKING FREE GROUP PARTNERS WITH GTL TO ADDRESS SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND STRENGTHEN REHABILITATIVE SUPPORT IN U.S. CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES

August 2019

Breaking Free Group has formed a partnership with GTL, a leader in transformative corrections technology that services 29 state Departments of Corrections and over 2,500 correctional facilities across the United States.  

Inmates in prisons and jails will now be able to access Breaking Free’s evidence-based digital behavioral support programs for Substance Use Disorders and smoking cessation via GTL’s class-leading education services platform and Inspire secure tablets.

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INTERSERVE JUSTICE IMPLEMENTS BREAKING FREE GROUP’S ACCREDITED PROGRAMME IN ITS PROBATION SERVICES

August 2019

Interserve Justice, who run Community Rehabilitation Companies (CRCs) across North West England, are introducing Breaking Free Online as an Accredited Programme that will be used to treat offenders under the supervision of the National Probation Service in Bolton, Crewe, Trafford, Liverpool, Manchester and Tameside. 

Breaking Free Online is the only digital programme to be accredited by the Correctional Services Accreditation and Advice Panel (CSAAP) at the Ministry of Justice as a gold standard intervention for addressing the links between substance misuse and offending behaviour.

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