DDN March 2022 March 2022 | Page 19

up the only mechanism they have for coping with the trauma they ’ ve experienced … we may need to accept that using substances at that stage in life is the only thing that ’ s keeping that person going .’ Focusing on building a relationship with that person needed to go hand in hand with harm reduction , working out ‘ what good looks like for them ’ and making sure the response was ‘ holistic , person centred , flexible and able to meet different needs at different points in life .’
SAVING LIVES ‘ You have to want to save people ’ s lives long enough to get them off drugs ,’ agreed Maggie Rae , president of the Faculty of Public Health . And one evidence-based intervention that we could , and should , be using was supervised overdose centres .
‘ We have failed to influence the government to change legislation and allow these centres to operate ,’ she said . ‘ The drug strategy will simply not be effective unless we get these centres up and running , because we will not get everyone to give up drugs right away … the more we can work closely with them , the more we can get them into treatment .
‘ We can throw money at drug treatment but we will still have the deaths because we will not be able to stop the deaths in the time it takes
‘ By asking people to give up drugs we ’ re asking them to give up the only mechanism they have for coping ...’
people to come off drugs – especially when we release people from prison with nothing – no drug orders , no treatment services . We ’ re just not on this the way we should be .’
EVIDENCE BASE The evidence base clearly supported the need for legislation to save people from dying , and would also save the NHS ‘ an absolute fortune ’ in treating people at the emergency stages .
Seeing the ‘ vile and disgusting ’ places where people were injecting with dirty needles – someone ’ s daughter , someone ’ s son , someone ’ s brother , someone ’ s sister – was a stark reminder that this should not be going on , she said . She hoped that the whole of the UK took on the legislation – and that the devolved nations would go ahead ‘ and shame those who will not move forward .’ DDN


We were saddened to hear of the death of Paul ‘ Rowdy ’ Yates , on 14 February , aged 71 . He shared his surname with the Clint Eastwood character in the TV series Rawhide and was always known as Rowdy .
‘ He was a teacher , a researcher , a mentor , a musician , a role model , a leader , and a confidant ,’ say Phoenix Futures , with whom he worked – one of many influential roles within the sector . From using drugs and ‘ getting kicked out of bands ’ he set up a support group which merged with another to become Lifeline – ‘ a radical and adventurous project ’ – where he worked for 23 years . ‘ Under Rowdy ’ s influence Lifeline became a radical and adventurous project that gained national recognition . It was characteristic of Rowdy to stretch the boundaries and develop new ways of working ,’ say Karen Biggs and Bob Campbell in a heartfelt tribute .
Later he became director of the Scottish Drugs Training Project , a founding member of the Phoenix Scotland Board and supported setting up therapeutic communities all over the world . He wrote many papers and articles ( including in DDN ) and retained his passion for music , inspiring residents and staff with his folk songs .
Read the tribute at https :// www . phoenix-futures . org . uk / aboutphoenix-futures / spotlight-on-recovery / phoenix-news-and-views / rowdy-yates /
We ’ re incredibly excited to announce …

‘ All Together Now ’

the 14th DDN Conference . Live and in person ! Save the date : Thursday 23 June , Birmingham

Programme and tickets launching soon – you won ’ t want to miss this one ! Announcements on our website , on social media and through our regular email updates – you can sign up at www . drinkanddrugsnews . com