Drug users curb cravings with yoga
Written by: alternative1, Date: Jun. 27, 2004
Drug users who have served prison sentences in Leicestershire and Rutland are being taught yoga as part of an innovative programme to help them kick the habit.
Former inmates who committed crimes are seen five times a week and given regular tests for drugs in the first few weeks of the programme.
Each person's lifestyle is assessed and an individual treatment programme developed which could include work to help with cravings, psychotherapy, acupuncture or yoga.
Leicester Criminal Justice Drug Team, which deals with the programme, also helps criminals find employment and accommodation after leaving prison.
The team says the holistic approach is proving more successful than simply putting people on medication.
Re-offending among drug users on the new scheme is said to have dropped dramatically.
Assistant chief officer of Leicestershire and Rutland probation service Paul Hindson said: "I have not come across any other schemes in the country that have the range of interventions we have.
"A drug user comes with a multitude of problems and we have a multitude of ways to deal with those problems.
"Some of the things we do are standard practice across the country, but we also have a number of alternative methods like yoga and acupuncture."
Kevin, a former drug-user and prisoner who has been taking part in a programme to learn yoga, says it helped to put him back on the straight and narrow.
He told BBC Radio Leicester: "Both of them combined together (yoga and acupuncture) is a great relaxation technique and helps me through the week.
"To me, I never thought it would work but I went with an open mind. I wanted to be helped so I grasped it with both hands. I'm making progress."
Mr Hindson said the scheme tries to ensure that there is continuity for prisoners when they come out of jail.
"When they come out they are not just cast adrift.
"If they have been off drugs by prison enforcement, we make sure they don't go straight back on to them outside," he said.