DDN_March_2024 DDN March 2024 | Page 18

I was very interested to read Release ’ s article on chronic pain (‘ Beyond Belief ’, DDN February , p12 ). This issue is so important and made me realise I don ’ t know enough . How can we be telling people they have to give up essential medications – medicines that are helping them to live with pain and disability – before they can tackle a drug problem . It is insanity . I feel as if I ’ ve been trained to be reckless in giving the wrong advice . While clinical decisions are made by medically qualified staff , it ’ s still left to all of us in the team to talk to clients , encourage them to engage with us , and give them the confidence as soon as they step through the door that we will work with them and do what ’ s best for them – and that includes not swapping one kind of agony for another .
The unhappy situation described by Fraser in his article should never have come about and I am talking to my colleagues to make sure it does not . Thank you for sharing the casebook . Name and address supplied
Just a few thoughts which may be useful regarding stigma . a ) Those who judge don ’ t matter , those who matter don ’ t judge . b ) It ’ s worth remembering that when you ’ re pointing the finger , three are pointing at you . Ronald Bell , by email
We were so sad to hear of the recent death of our friend and colleague Lee Collingham . Lee has worked with us for nearly 20 years , and has been a key member of our conference team . In the early days of DDN , when he worked with the Alliance ( formerly the Methadone Alliance ) we would meet with him and the rest of the team to share ideas and shape the conference
– fun times that forged a lasting friendship .
In recent years Lee was beset by health problems that would culminate in a devastating cancer diagnosis . But at conference time , there he was , reporting for duty and ready to get the show on the road . Sometimes he could hardly walk but would insist on arranging furniture , stuffing conference bags , making badges … even a badge for my dog . Lee knew how to raise a smile , even when the pressure was on .
A Stamp out Stigma campaign in Nottingham was typical of Lee in action – passionate , insistent , and refusing to sit quietly . He grew frustrated when more ‘ official ’ campaigns followed in its wake . Similarly when campaigning for naloxone – he took harm reduction to heart and became an ambassador locally and nationally . Hearing him honoured at the RCGP & AP conference showed the high regard in which he was held – he would have been pleased with that .
Lee wore his heart on his sleeve and shared what he was going through . His daily poetry via Facebook was astonishing for its proficiency , creativity , and stark truth . When the end came he seemed to be writing his own final chapter , but we didn ’ t want to believe it .
We ’ ll be attending Lee ’ s funeral this month and saying goodbye , not just from us , but from the DDN community , his friends . Claire Brown , editor , DDN
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


The next tier of CLERO membership is engaging families , supporters and advocates , say David Best , Tim Sampey , Dave Higham and Dot Smith

The College of Lived Experience Recovery Organisations ( CLERO ) is now well established and has made its presence felt through partnership with OHID and through its establishment of a membership of around 40 lived experience recovery organisations ( LEROs ) throughout the UK . However , the two existing tiers to CLERO ( the original connectors group and the collective of LEROs ) is being supplemented with a third group . So who are they and what will be their role for CLERO moving forward ?

From the initial call for engagement , there was an almost equal number of enquiries from people who :
• ran family support organisations
• worked in , or managed , treatment services
• were thinking about starting up their own LERO
• or simply liked the idea of CLERO and wanted to volunteer to help
This group constitutes the tier 3 of CLERO membership , and the initial meeting was extremely positive in terms of building a sense of collective identity , where participants had the chance to get to know each other and develop some common ground .
The tier 3 group is currently around 20 strong and has the following aims and aspirations . Following an initial scoping meeting in January , we have agreed on the following aims and objectives : 1 . Raising awareness and educating providers , commissioners and others about LEROs and CLERO 2 . Learning lessons from existing CLEROs including guidance on how to set up a LERO 3 . Promoting the involvement of families and affected others in
CLERO and to create a network of family members 4 . Influencing commissioners around the funding support for LEROs 5 . Sharing ideas and innovation at a local level 6 . Helping to build bridges between specialist treatment providers and LEROs 7 . Establishing principles for the partnerships between providers and
LEROs 8 . Actively promoting the role of the tier 3 group and encouraging others to join
These are broad and ambitious goals but will allow for a clear platform for effective engagement with a range of external stakeholders and advance the ‘ affected others ’ agenda – something that has not yet been achieved through CLERO .
The group will initially be coordinated by David Best and Tim Sampey , but it is hoped that roles will emerge from within the membership to co-ordinate and manage the group .
If you are interested in joining this group , please contact David Best at D . Best @ leedstrinity . ac . uk