An innovative centre offering help for those struggling with drug and alcohol addictions has opened in County Durham. 

Saddler House Recovery Centre, funded by Durham County Council and Public Health England, has opened in Bishop Auckland, replacing outdated facilities in the town’s Market Place.

The Saddler Recovery Centre will be the new home of the County Durham Drug and Alcohol Service, which is managed by the charity the Lifeline Project. 

The Lifeline Project is a national charity providing substance misuse services. The charity promises to provide immediate assistance to anyone who needs support with drug and alcohol problems and their families.

The Saddler House Recovery Centre is a bright and inspiring environment. The centre will encourage abstinence by offering confidential one-to-one support, group sessions, and structured activities that aim to get people back to their families and leading lives free from alcohol and drugs. 

New County Durham Centre Offers Help for Drug and Alcohol Addictions
The Saddler House Recovery Centre is opened

The centre will provide a variety of programmes that have been proven to get people into recovery. The aim will be to change behaviour by using clinical interventions and by giving people the chance to learn from ex-drug and alcohol users who have successfully undergone their own recovery journeys. 

Cllr Joy Allen, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for safer and stronger communities, said, “Our priority is raising awareness of the harm caused by alcohol and drugs to individuals, families and the wider community, and to promote treatment and recovery services that can save lives.”

“This new facility has been designed to ensure those seeking help and support can do so in a clinical and professional environment.” 

“I have visited drug and alcohol centres throughout the county and have been impressed to hear from service users about their journey to complete recovery by becoming drug and alcohol free.”

New County Durham Centre Offers Help for Drug and Alcohol Addictions
The centre uses both one-to-one and group sessions

“The majority of people seeking support want help with alcohol addiction. Services such as this are vital if we are to reduce the risks alcohol poses to safety, health, young people, the economy and the environment.” 

“However, we must never lose sight of the bigger picture in our efforts to reduce alcohol-related harm, such as the risks posed by low-cost, high-strength ciders, minimum unit pricing, promotions that encourage binge drinking and the danger of drink driving.” 

Recent statistics suggest that the cost of dealing with the personal, social and economic effects of excessive drinking in County Durham is over £200 million a year. This figure takes account of the costs to the NHS, the criminal justice system, social services, workplaces, and the licensing system. 

New County Durham Centre Offers Help for Drug and Alcohol Addictions
Alcohol abuse costs County Durham over £200 million a year

Alcohol is responsible for 35% of violent crime in County Durham and 53% of violent criminal incidents nationally. Figures from 2013/14 show that almost 40% of County Durham’s recorded domestic abuse cases were alcohol related. 

Between 2011 and 2013, County Durham saw 181 vehicle collisions in which at least one of the drivers had been drinking. These collisions resulted in 279 casualties. 

Anne Bell, Lifeline services manager, said, “Our programmes use the influence of others who have changed their lives to inspire and bring hope to those at the beginning of their recovery process.”

“We take people from every walk of life – including young people, grandparents, carers and veterans – to help them become free from addiction and then encourage them to become ambassadors to support their peers and promote the recovery message.” 

New County Durham Centre Offers Help for Drug and Alcohol Addictions
The most common form of addiction is to alcohol

Dennis, a recovery ambassador for the service, said, “I never thought change was possible until I had two choices: suicide or give change a try.”

“Fear had kept me where it wanted for a very long time so I gave change a try.”

“It works if you want it hard enough. It worked for me. Miracles can and do happen. I’ve been to hell and back so I know what it feels like.” 

Carl, another recovery ambassador, said, “If it wasn’t for the service, I would still be in active addiction and breaking the law.” 

“I would probably be homeless or possibly even dead.”

“I never had any hope for the future or really cared about anything, but since being sober and working with the ambassadors I have loads of hope and self-worth.”

Saddler House Recovery Centre is on Saddler Street, Bishop Auckland. Anyone can access support by visiting the centre between 9 am and 5 pm.

If you would like to make an appointment, please call 03000 266 666 and choose option 5. You can also email enquiries.durham.lifeline@gmail.com.  


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