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IN THIS ISSUE
ON THE COVER : Alcohol and us
2021 the best Dry January so far ?
How have dark web drug sales been affected by the pandemic ?
4 NEWS Cash boost for services north and south ; Scotland ’ s new minister for drug policy
10 LETTERS Steps for behaviour change ; your views needed for psychology survey on recovery
16 PARLIAMENT A public health approach to older people ’ s drinking
19 A GREATER CONNECTION Forward Trust share ideas for digital support
21 I AM A ... This month ’ s career story is from an isolation support worker
What impact has COVID-19 had on mutual aid groups like AA ?
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Every small change can signal success
The Dry January campaign reports significant success this year , striking a loud chord in lockdown ( p8 ). A characteristic of this success is its immediacy – website , Facebook page , app – as well as the capacity for global reach , and its direction as a healthy lifestyle initiative rather than a competition with an expiry date chimes with everyone ’ s interest in cultivating a stronger immune system .
What ’ s made it feel accessible to many is the celebration of behaviour change , however gradual ; the fact that a totally ‘ dry ’ month is not the only indicator of success . The question in Mike Ashton ’ s piece ( p6 ) is can we ever contemplate gradual change – ‘ controlled drinking ’ – for dependent drinkers ?
For most of us , digital service options ( and there are good ideas from Forward , p19 ) have given us innovative ways of reaching clients during and beyond COVID . But an equally important part of the narrative must include those who do not naturally live online . A survey of older adults receiving alcohol treatment found that many were struggling with the move to online or phone-based models ( news , p5 ). The Drink Wise , Age Well programme ( p16 ) also highlighted that loneliness and depression can loom large for those whose only buzz comes from reaching for the bottle . Claire Brown , editor Keep in touch at www . drinkanddrugsnews . com and @ DDNmagazine
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