Jargon Buster

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Alternative Therapies

We provide a whole range of creative workshops for you to get involved with, from arts and music to dance and yoga.


Biopsychosocial Model

The theory that addiction is the result of a complex interaction of 3 different factors: the biological and genetic factors, the social and cultural factors and the personal, individual factors. Developed in the 1980s.


Bridge Housing

Prepares people to exit formal treatment.


Building Futures Programme

Phoenix Futures’ Building Futures works in prisons across England and is an integrated Substance Misuse Service working alongside and in partnership with the Healthcare Team. Responding to all potential client needs. The aim is to reduce repetition, avoid treatment wastage and build tailor made treatment packages for all types of substance misusing clients.

The packages give the service the ability to mix and match interventions to meet the demands of the clients at any point in time.

Families, carers and loved ones are also supported within the Building Futures Service, with an emphasis on Family Support to ensure a wider holistic approach is taken.



Cannabis is one of the most widely used illegal drugs in the United Kingdom. It is a naturally occurring plant that is smoked but can also be eaten. The main chemical in it is called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is the ingredient in cannabis that can make you feel very chilled out, happy and relaxed however it can also make you hallucinate and feel paranoid and has been linked to serious long-term mental health problems.


Club drugs

Recreational drugs are widely used to enhance the experience of clubbing and socializing.  All club drugs including GHB, GBL, ketamine, MDMA, cocaine, methamphetamine, mephedrone and legal highs share psychoactive effects but they have widely different strengths. Many people use club drugs recreationally but using can still lead to addiction, mental health problems, relationship breakdowns and all of the other problems associated with problematic drug use.



Cocaine is a class A drug which comes in two different forms: powder cocaine or coke and freebase and crack. Powdered cocaine is generally snorted while crack can be smoked in a pipe or injected. Crack or freebase reaches your brain very quickly as it is smoked and therefore users will feel the need to use more very quickly. Cocaine is a powerful stimulant that can leave you feeling really down after the short-lived high wears off. Risks associated with cocaine use include physical and psychological dependence, overdose, heart attacks and depression.


Cocaine Anonymous

Cocaine Anonymous (CA) is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other so that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from their addiction. The group follows the 12 Step Model. The only requirement to come along is a desire to stop using cocaine and other mind-altering substances. You will not have to talk at a meeting if you don’t want to and anonymity is protected rigorously.


Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a therapy which helps you to manage your problems by changing how you think and behave. This works by breaking down problems which feel overwhelming for you into smaller parts. You will learn that your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and actions are related. Changing just one of these in a positive way can have a positive impact on all the others, helping you to have more control over your problems.


Community Education & Awareness Sessions

Sessions that work with communities to raise awareness, reduce stigma and make sure people are informed about drugs and alcohol.


Community Reinforcement Approach

The Community Reinforcement Approach is a behavioural health programme. It is based on the belief that the environment you are in has a powerful impact on encouraging or discouraging alcohol abuse.

It was developed over 30 years ago by behaviourists Nathan Azrin and George Hunt. The aim of Community Reinforcement is to make a sober lifestyle more rewarding than one that includes the use of substances. It is considered among the best alcohol treatments available.


Complementary Therapies

Complementary therapies are therapies used alongside conventional treatment to enhance a client’s journey. In our services we provide a range of complementary therapies which can have a very positive effect on how you feel, and reduce cravings. These include: Shiatsu massage, Indian head massage, aromatherapy massage, Reiki healing, acupuncture, relaxation, yoga, equine therapy and dance movement therapy.



In a counselling session you will be encouraged to talk freely about difficult or painful feelings and emotions. By discussing your problems with your counsellor, you can begin to deal with issues and understand yourself and your problems better. Our workers aren’t counsellors, but we do have counsellors come into our services



Crack is a form of cocaine. It can be a powerful and extremely addictive stimulant that speeds up the body and mind for short amounts of time. Crack takes the form of small off-white rocks or lumps that are used for smoking. They make a cracking sound when burned. Freebase cocaine can also be smoked but it looks more like a crystalline powder. There are several physical and psychological risks associated with using crack. Find out more information on our factsheet.



A nursery that looks after young children while their parents are at work or engaged with other activities. Some of our services have creche facilities. This means someone is able to take care of your young children while you access our service. Please see our Family Service.


Day Programme

Day programmes offer structured non-residential support. These structured day programmes help you to address your drug and alcohol problems while maintaining other areas of your life such as relationships with children, education and sometimes paid employment. You will have opportunities to develop new skills, learn alongside peers through group work and social activities, build new support networks and increase your confidence.



Detoxification or detox involves stopping using alcohol or substances. The goal of drug detox is to rid the body of toxins accumulated by drug use. The first step of drug detox is drug withdrawal. The definition of withdrawal is "Discontinuation of the use of an addictive substance, and the physiological and mental readjustment that accompanies such discontinuation." Once an individual has discontinued using drugs, physical and behavioural withdrawal symptoms may follow. Detoxing from drugs may be an uncomfortable process and therefore medical professionals may prescribe medication to ease the discomfort. Detoxing from alcohol after prolonged usage can be dangerous and even lead to death.


Drug Intervention Programme (DIP)

Drug Intervention Programmes are designed to reduce crime by helping offenders who are misusing drugs to address their addiction. Several of our services have DIP workers. DIP workers support people through the criminal justice process – from being arrested and testing positive for drug use at the police station, through to going to court.


Drug Support in Prison

Support provided to people for their drug and alcohol problems while they are in custody. The support ranges from one-to-ones to group work. Some of our prisons have Therapeutic Communities within them.


Dual Diagnosis

A person who identifies with both a substance misuse issue and a mental health issue. Dual diagnosis allows clients to be treated for both their needs at the same time.


Education Training & Employment (ETE)

This is a programme designed to support people affected by drug and alcohol use to access education, training and employment opportunities. Developing these skills will further aid your recovery journey.


Family Support

A person’s substance misuse can have a big impact on the people close to them. All of our services offer support and advice to families. Some of our services also offer specialist support for children, young people and families who are worried about a parent’s alcohol or drug use.


FLAMES - Family and Loved Ones Accessing Mutual and Emotional Support

FLAMES are groups run to support the families and loved ones of clients in our residential services. The groups aim to provide support for the families and loves ones while also helping them to understand treatment better, improving their support of the client and in turn improving completion and retention rates. The groups are open to any family member or loved one over the age of 18 who currently has a relative or loved on accessing residential treatment.


Floating Support                              

Floating Support services provide housing support to people who have left treatment and are working towards independent living. The support service helps the individual to become more independent, and learn the life skills needed to maintain their own tenancy.


Goal Planning                   

We work with you to plan and set recovery goals which are achievable for you. Setting goals helps clients to track their progress and recognise their achievements, whether big or small.


GP Shared Care               

We work with GP surgeries and health centres, working alongside doctors to address drug dependency with their patients. Drug and alcohol workers provide therapeutic support to clients while GPs and medical staff provide medical support.


Group Support                 

All of our services offer group support. A worker guides the session with a small group of people. Participating in groups can help clients as they are able to see that others are going through the same issues and offer and gain peer-to-peer support.


Harm Reduction Advice                

Harm reduction means trying to reduce the harm that people do to themselves or others from their drug or alcohol use. All our services provide information and advice about using drugs safely and how to minimise the risk of contracting infectious diseases, overdosing or other health related risks.



Heroin is a class A drug. It is derived from morphine which is extracted from the opium poppy. Morphine is also used in medicine, when it is called diamorphine. Heroin is highly addictive and is normally smoked or injected. Small doses of heroin can give users the feeling of warmth and wellbeing, with bigger doses making you feel sleepy and very relaxed. Injecting heroin and sharing injecting equipment can be very risky as it can lead to the spread of Blood Borne Viruses (BBVs). There is also a risk that veins may be damaged or an abscess or blood clot may develop.


Home Visits                       

Some services offer outreach visits, where a worker may be able to visit a client in their home.


Independent Living                         

Safe, secure, drug and alcohol free living.


Individualised Care Plan                

A plan developed from a client's needs assessment that is tailored to the specific needs of that individual person.



A named keyworker who will offer you support throughout your treatment and recovery journey with the service. Your keyworker often works with you on a one-to-one basis, and will help to coordinate your care with other services you may be accessing.



Khat is a stimulant that speeds up both your mind and body. It has affects similar to but is less powerful than amphetamines. Khat is most commonly used in North East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula and by expat communities from these areas. It was made a class C drug in 2014.


Legal highs                         

Legal highs are now known as New Psychoactive Substances or NPS. Please see below for more information.


Medicated Detox                            

The detoxification from a substance with the help of medication prescribed by a doctor.



Methadone is a synthetic opiate manufactured for use as a painkiller, and is prescribed as a substitute for heroin in the treatment of heroin addiction. It has similar effects to heroin but doesn’t deliver the same high. Find out more information on our factsheet.


Motivational Interviewing                           

Motivational Interviewing is a collaborative conversation that aims to strengthen your motivation for and commitment to change. If you have conflicted feelings about your need to change then Motivationa Interviewing supports you to explore your values and concerns. This is a natural part of the change process. We work with you to strengthen your readiness for change.


Multiple Needs                

A person with more than one issue or need such as substance misuse, offending, eating disorders and mental health.


Mutual Aid Groups                         

Mutual aid groups are peer support groups. We support our clients to engage with mutual aid groups within their local area.


Narcotics Anonymous   

Narcotics Anonymous (NA) provide a network of support or a form of self-help for recovering addicts. The group follows the 12 Step Model. The only requirement to come along is a desire to stop using drugs. You will not have to talk at a meeting if you don’t want to and anonymity is protected rigorously.


Needle Exchange                            

Needle exchanges provide clean and sterile injecting equipment and will dispose of used ones. Needle exchanges can also provide advice on safer injecting and general healthcare. If you use drugs it is very important to use clean and sterile needles and injecting paraphernalia, and you should not share it with others. This will minimise your chances of becoming infected with Hepatitis C or HIV.


Needs Assessment                         

An assessment by a keyworker of a client which identifies what support the client needs.


New Psychoactive Substances (NPS)                     

New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), formally known as ‘legal highs’, contain one or more chemical substances which produce similar effects to illegal drugs (like cocaine, cannabis and ecstasy). These new substances recently became controlled under The New Psychoactive Substances Act of 2016, making it illegal to produce, supply or offer to supply an NPS if it is to be used for pyschoactive effect. There is not enough research about these new substances to know about their potency, adverse effects from human consumption, or the effects when used with other substances or alcohol. However, more and more NPS are being researched to see what their dangers are. NPS can actually be much stronger than their counterparts and so are also often much more dangerous.


Numeracy and Literacy Assessment                       

Clients' numeracy and literacy skills are assessed so that keyworkers are able to work with them to improve these skills.


Nutrition Advice                              

Nutrion advice supports you to achieve a balanced diet and inform you about the things you should be eating and drinking to keep yourself healthy.


OFSTED Registered                         

Registered with the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills.


One-to-One Working

Work between a client and their key workers.


Open Access                     

Service users do not need to be referred by a professional to access the service.


Out of Hours Service                     

Many of our services are open outside standard working hours, such as evenings or weekends.



Workers will go out to see clients in their own home or somewhere else more convenient.


Outreach Services                           

We offer support and help to people in the community that have difficulty accessing our services, or may have stopped attending. Our outreach workers try to engage people in treatment, offer harm reduction advice and support in accessing the correct treatment.


Peer Mentoring                               

Peer mentors are people who have come through treatment for drug or alcohol dependence. They are now abstinent or fully stable on prescription medication, and are keen to use their experience to help other service users who are at an earlier stage in their recovery.


Person-centered Recovery Care Planning                             

A care plan developed with the needs of the clients at the centre.


Phoenix Plus                     

Phoenix Futures' model to develop recovery capital. See About for more information.


Prescription Medication                               

Medication prescribed to someone by their doctor. Some prescription medications can be highly addictive, such as benzodiazepines and other prescription painkillers.


Professional Referral                     

This means that someone else can refer you to our service. This will usually be a GP or a professional who you have been in contact with about your addiction.


Recovery Capital                             

Recovery capital refers to all the things in your life apart from drugs and alcohol. This can include things like having a roof over your head, your friends, family, hobbies or interests. We work with you to build and strengthen these aspects of your life, which can help you to recover from your dependency.


Recovery Community                    

A recovery friendly community that encourages and assists recovery through peer support and mutual aid.


Recovery House                              

Self-managed drug and alcohol houses for those sustaining their own recovery.


Recovery through the Arts                         

Our Recovery through the Arts projects provide opportunities for those with drug and alcohol problems to develop skills and build confidence through the arts.


Recovery through Nature                           

Recovery through Nature connects people using our services with nature to aid in their recovery. Participants work as a team on practical conservation projects in settings across England and Scotland.


Recovery through Sport                              

Our Recovery through Sport projects provide opportunities for those with drug and alcohol problems to develop skills and build confidence through participating in sports activities.



How you are able to access a service. Some services accept both self-referrals and professional referrals. All of our services provide signposting, which means we can put you forward to access other services that could help you.


Relapse Management                  

Relapse can be part of the recovery process, so we work closely with you to manage this and support your recovery.


School Workshops                          

Some of our services run interactive workshops in schools which help to inform young people about drugs and alcohol.



This means you can get in touch with a service and ask for help yourself, without needing to involve anyone else.


Service User Council                       

A council made up of service users who represent the service they attend. Through the council they are able to communicate the opinions of the service user and hopefully influence service provision within their local area.


Service User Involvement                            

The involvement of service users in decision making processes.


Sexual Health Advice                     

We can provide you with information about safe sex, pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. There are also organisations we can refer you to that will be able to provide further advice and support.



We can refer you to other organisations and clinics that will be able to help you with specialist information or support on things such as benefits or mental health.


SMART Recovery                            

This is a mutual aid group (peer support) which uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This self-empowering recovery support group is an alternative to 12 Step Programmes like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.



Steroids are drugs that mimic certain natural hormones in the body that regulate and control how the body works and develops. There are two main groups of steroids: anabolic and corticosteroids. It is anabolic steroids that tend to get misused as they mimic the male hormone testosterone.


Supported Housing                        

Drug and alcohol free houses that allow residents to develop life skills while still having support for their substance misuse issues.


Therapeutic Community:

We use the Therapeutic Community (TC) model in three of our adult residential rehabilitation services: Wirral, Sheffield, and Scotland. It has been used in the treatment of addictions since the 1950s, and Phoenix Futures have been delivering this model since 1969.

The community is the most important thing in a TC; you will hear the phrase “Community as Method” a lot and will learn about this important concept. Both staff and service users are members of the community and it is the community that facilitates positive change.

The main aim of the TC is to bring about change in the attitudes and behaviour of community members. It is specifically designed and organised so that all the elements of the TC help you learn and accept social norms and develop more effective social skills so that you can function and live your life in a more positive way. This is achieved by its members (you) taking responsibility for the running of the house and living with and supporting each other’s recovery journey.

The TC replicates wider society; it is structured and organised so that all members have a role to play in community life as well as attending groups, one-to-one sessions and a range of activities.

There are three stages of the TC - Welcome House, Primary and Senior Stages - and as you move through the programme you will develop skills, gain a better understanding of your behaviour, and gain increased levels of personal and social responsibility.


Triple P Parenting Programme                  

Triple P is an accredited programme we run within Grace House and our Family Service. It runs over nine weeks. Five sessions are group work based and three sessions are one-to-one consultations. The aim of the intervention is to enhance parents' self-sufficiency and self-efficacy in managing their children’s behaviour. Triple P achieves this aim by teaching parents skills for promoting their children’s development, social competence and self-control. Triple P has been subjected to extensive research that has demonstrated its effectiveness. Through having group sessions the parents can receive support as well as constructive feedback from other parents. The sessions involve discussion, workbook exercises, role plays, PowerPoint presentations and DVD material. The one-to-one sessions aim to assist parents with the practical implementation of the strategies learnt on an individual basis.

The sessions run as follows:

  • Week one: Introduction
  • Week two: Positive Parenting
  • Week three: Helping Children Develop
  • Week four: Managing Misbehaviour
  • Week five: Planning Ahead
  • Week six, seven and eight: One-to-one consultation, using the positive parenting strategies, putting them into practice.
  • Week nine: Program close


Women Only Groups                    

Some of our services offer support groups which are exclusively for women, which can provide a safe and supportive environment to work through difficult issues.


Young People's Services                              

Service for children and young people to support people aged between 11 and 25 with their problematic drug and alcohol use.       

Phoenix Futures is a registered charity in England and Wales (No 284880) and in Scotland (No SCO39008); Company Limited by Guarantee Number 1626869; Registered Provider of Social Housing with Homes England (H3795).