New app could help alcoholics

Medical director of Delphi Medical, Dr Ian Guinan.
Medical director of Delphi Medical, Dr Ian Guinan.

A new digital tool that could help people kick drug and alcohol addiction is being launched in north Lancashire.

Lancaster-based Delphi Medical is pioneering the use of the “app”, and has teamed up with Manchester based Breaking Free Online to trial it in both community and prison-based addiction treatment programmes.

Its aim is to help people achieve and maintain an abstinent lifestyle.

Dr Ian Guinan, co-founder of Delphi Medical, based at The White Cross, said: “People receiving treatment for addiction get regular support and counselling, but this can only do so much and really it’s down to them to make a lasting change.

“What this tool gives people is much greater access to personalized support to help make that difference. These online resources are always available to them whatever time of day or night they feel they are in need.

“Also, with increasing access to the internet on the move, the mobile app is a tool that can potentially always be with them. “Like having a counsellor in their pocket.”

Dr Guinan said the software could be programmed to alert people if they were close to a “hotspot”, for example a pub, off-licence or drug dealer, using GPS to plan a detour, or flashing up a message from a friend or loved one.

The north Lancashire scheme is the first in the UK to be used across the whole community and Delphi hopes to have 600 people registered by the end of the year, and will be assessing the findings to look at new ways to use online support to help treat addiction.