DDN July_Aug_2022 DDN July/August 2022 | Page 11

enshrined in whatever comes out of the new money coming into the system . If I want to engage someone in my service I don ’ t send one of my treatment staff – I send someone with lived experience . Because that conversation they have with them cuts through far more often than someone who ’ s a professional .’
This was now a genuinely exciting time , he said , with initiatives like diamorphine-assisted treatment , consumption rooms – ‘ why not , if they work ?’ – naloxone , psychosocial interventions and Buvidal , which would be a ‘ game changer ’ for many people . ‘ And of course the pandemic has taught us that we can all use telemedicine ,’ allowing us to provide more treatment to more people over a longer period of time .
‘ We want to build cohesion , trust , credibility and consensus for recovery groups and communities ... Community is everything .’
ESSENTIAL INITIATIVES Other essentials included recovery check-ups , ensuring that people don ’ t spend ‘ six months in the wilderness ’ if they relapse , recovery
housing – which still didn ’ t get proper recognition , funding or support – ‘ life-changing ’ collegiate recovery programmes , and recovery coach roles . ‘ And of course lived experience is crucial here . We need to carve out clear roles to get recognition and funding in this area .
‘ Whatever your route to recovery , the key things are connecting with people and helping others – 24 / 7 community support is there ,’ he said . ‘ Why aren ’ t statutory services grabbing this and working with it ? Respecting it , funding it , supporting it ?’
There was now a nationally recognised group of lived experience recovery organisations in the shape of the CLERO , he said . ‘ It ’ s in both Dame Carol Black ’ s report and the drug strategy , so they can ’ t get out of this . We urge you to join with us . People with lived experience need a voice to get this into the system , and once it ’ s in there it won ’ t leave . But while we ’ re divided , the politicians won ’ t listen to us . United we ’ re a powerful force – this is our window of opportunity . Let ’ s take it .’
AUTONOMY IS KEY CLERO member organisations met every month to share good practice and ‘ cheer each other on ’, said CEO of Recovery Connections , Dot Smith , as ‘ it can be a difficult landscape out there , especially if you ’ re a small organisation trying to work alongside the treatment system ’. But what was key was autonomy , she stressed . ‘ We want to build cohesion , trust , credibility and consensus for recovery groups and communities , based on an evidence-based approach predicated on lived experience with human rights at its heart . Community is everything .’
More than 20 peer researchers had already been trained by CLERO , said Dave Higham , CEO of The Well Communities , and the college had also been working on a set of national standards for recovery organisations . ‘ We should be seen as equal stakeholders in this recovery field ,’ he stated . ‘ We should not be getting the crumbs off the table . We should be getting a fair share of the pie , because the impact we have on our communities is phenomenal .’