LETTERS & COMMENT
Thank you for giving such helpful information on a sensitive topic last month (‘ Game changer , DDN , Nov , p15 ). I have recently learned about the effects of menopause that might affect women ’ s drug use but I knew nothing about the possible link between opioids and a dramatic drop in testosterone . Can I encourage my fellow professionals to read this article and arm themselves with information that could make someone ’ s life a lot happier . And particular thanks to the author for sharing a personal story . E Challenor , by email
‘ Can I encourage my fellow professionals to read this article and arm themselves with information that could make someone ’ s life a lot happier .’
Thank you for the careers series , which I ’ m finding very helpful . As a student I ’ m keeping my options open during my training but it ’ s giving me ideas on where to head for . I came in contact with DDN through my university careers service and have learnt so much from it . I ’ ll write you an article when I qualify ! Amy Reeve , by email form of crosswords , Sudoku and colouring books .
We also can ’ t forget about the families who are impacted by their loved ones being in custody . We arrange a family day , which means that families can have an extended half-day visit , and we also arrange for food to be provided and activities for the children and dads to do together . The hall is decorated , and families get the opportunity to spend more time with their loved ones . Pictures are taken of families as a memento of the day , and judging by the feedback received these are always greatly appreciated by everyone .
Apart from family days , by far the most popular activity is Christmas card-making , especially for their children . The people that we support take great pride in their creations , and it gives them a feeling of accomplishment in doing something personal for their children . Quizzes and bingo are always a big hit , especially when the prize is extra PIN credit to enable them to have extra contact with loved ones .
In the lead up to Christmas we also have a harm reduction campaign , which is a great opportunity to reach everyone in the establishment and spread the harm reduction message . In addition to this everyone is given harm reduction advice during oneto-one meetings , and we utilise our peer supporters to spread the message across the prison as they have access to people outside of our 9-5 working day .
Our peer support programme is now well established after COVID and it can be invaluable in offering support when we are not here . Peer supporters have an open-door policy so anyone can pop in and see them when they are struggling . They are easily recognisable in their Phoenix Futures t-shirts and the peer supporter sign outside their cell door .
This Christmas will no doubt be a very busy time . However , our focus will be to support people through it and maybe spread a little festive cheer along the way .
Pam Hassett is Phoenix Futures service manager at HMP Wayland
WRITE TO YOUR MP !
‘ IF YOU WANT DRUG POLICY TO CHANGE , you need to write to your MP ,’ said Jane Slater of Transform , who also led the Anyone ’ s Child campaign . She was talking at a lunchtime session at HIT HOT Topics and brainstorming the most effective ways to bring about policy reform .
‘ Lots of MPs haven ’ t thought about these issues – you are the experts ,’ she said . ‘ They think these issues don ’ t work for their voters . Meet your MPs , do your research , find the common ground through rational conversations .’
‘ A slow , slow hammer approach ’ worked , she said . From just one MP supporting Anyone ’ s Child , the campaign now had 50 . Attend MPs ’ Friday surgeries , she urged . ‘ Prepare for the meeting , think about the tone , have an ask . Get your MP to sponsor a meeting – they don ’ t have to give their views , but it will bring people together to exchange views .’ An MP ’ s involvement would also bring stakeholders , including police , and ‘ if an MP says something progressive , others follow and discuss .’
There was plenty to discuss , including diversion schemes , overdose prevention centres and heroin-assisted treatment – and the reasons to keep these life-saving initiatives going . Find the evidence and bring in respected sources like the Royal Society of Public Health journal and the Royal College of Nursing , she said , and ‘ let ’ s build bridges ’.
DDN welcomes all your comments . Please email the editor , claire @ cjwellings . com , join any of the conversations on our Facebook page , or send letters to DDN , CJ Wellings Ltd , Romney House , School Road , Ashford , Kent TN27 0LT . Longer comments and letters may be edited for space or clarity .
/ ddnmagazine @ ddnmagazine www . drinkanddrugsnews . com
WWW . DRINKANDDRUGSNEWS . COM DECEMBER 2022 – JANUARY 2023 • DRINK AND DRUGS NEWS • 13