DDN November 2023 DDN_November_2023 | Page 14



More than half of the population of Leicester is from a non-white background – something that hasn ’ t always been reflected in services , says Dilesh Popat

Turning Point ’ s drug and alcohol service in Leicester has been working with the local community to support clients from a south Asian background who are often reluctant to seek specialist help . The 2019 rapid evidence review ( bit . ly / 3FFdk77 ) conducted for Alcohol Change UK found that people belonging to ethnic minority groups are less likely to access services and may be less likely to seek help for alcohol use until they have experienced serious health consequences .

Leicester is one of the most
diverse cities in the country . The 2021 census showed that 51.9 per cent of the population are from a non-white background , with the largest single ethnic group being Asian at 43.4 per cent . However , Turning Point services in Leicester noticed that the ethnicity of the city didn ’ t reflect that of the clients seen at the service .
Five years ago , only seven per cent of the people we support were from a diverse background . When it comes to south Asian communities , a UKDPC survey ( bit . ly / 40kpkEx ) found that a reluctance to seek help due to stigma and a lack of
knowledge about services are reasons why these groups are underrepresented . A perceived lack of understanding of their culture and , occasionally , racism within services were also reported as barriers to treatment .
FEAR AND SHAME From our work with south Asian communities in Leicester , we ’ ve found that people are afraid to ask for help from their GPs or their local drug and alcohol services because of the perceived shame it will bring upon their families .
We ’ ve noticed that families
often have their own ideas on how to help their loved ones overcome alcohol and substance use – one is to send the client to the sub-continent in the belief that they might not be able to get hold of the drugs or alcohol . Even if this succeeds there ’ s clearly a risk of relapse when they return home .
At Turning Point we not only want to raise awareness of drug and alcohol services that are available , but also remove the stigma associated with accessing these services – we ’ ve taken the approach to work with the community , in the community , for the community .