The second All Together Now session focused on the power of community
’ re at an exciting point and you guys are a key part of this journey ,’ the government ’ s recovery champion Ed Day told All Together Now delegates . People ’ s relationships with substances – or other behaviours like gambling – occurred across a spectrum , he said . ‘ Many people don ’ t use substances at all , many people use substances without any problem – but other people run into very severe problems . We have to think about this whole spectrum of issues , and a wide range of different responses .’
Treatment had above all to be flexible and to ‘ meet people where they ’ re at ’, he said . Good treatment ‘ to be honest , doesn ’ t look like a lot of the things that appear in government documents ’, he acknowledged . ‘ The key thing is engagement – if you only offer one service , and they don ’ t want that it then takes another five years on average to be really confident that you ’ re not going back to where you were before .’
The positive message , however , was that well over half of the people with the most serious addiction issues did reach recovery , he stressed . ‘ People are recovering every day in huge numbers , in the UK and all over the world . So we have to have that hope and aspiration to give people .’
While the 2000s had seen money being spent ‘ hand over fist ’ on treatment services , the financial crash and change of government in 2010 had seen services ‘ relentlessly ’ cut over the next ten years . ‘ I ’ m sure I ’ m not alone in feeling worn out by that ,’ he said . However , things were looking up , he told the conference , and LEROs were crucial to the creation of the optimum model of a recovery-orientated system of care . Services shouldn ’ t be time-limited , and had to include peer-based recovery support , peerservice , they ’ re not going to take you up on it . But when people turn up and start building a therapeutic alliance with you , then you can start changing their behaviour .’
INDIVIDUALLY TAILORED It had to be tailored to the individual and be evidence-based , he stated . ‘ It ’ s a journey , a process . It doesn ’ t happen overnight , and it requires quite a bit of aspiration and hope , which is what our services need to bring to people . I ’ m a strong believer that the opposite of addiction is connection – people who are deep into addiction are isolated from the people they love , friends , family , work , all those things .’
The journey to recovery required building a system that catered to everyone , whatever level they were at , he said . Research had shown that on average it took people five years to even seek any form of help , and once there it took around eight years to reach a stable period of recovery . ‘ And once you hit recovery
‘ If I want to engage someone in my service I don ’ t send one of my treatment staff – I send someone with lived experience .
based harm reduction initiatives , recovery community centres , housing , employment services and more , he stated .
THE EVIDENCE IS THERE ‘ The evidence is there – what we need is all of this , and people with lived experience are absolutely crucial , so don ’ t let anyone tell you otherwise . The mission I have now is to ensure that this gets
10 • DRINK AND DRUGS NEWS • JULY / AUGUST 2022 WWW . DRINKANDDRUGSNEWS . COM