DDN Sept 2021 September 2021 DDN Magazine | Page 14


I work at an independent social research agency called Revealing Reality . We ’ ve recently been commissioned by the National Crime Agency ( NCA ) to do a project exploring the experiences of people who transported drugs to the UK . We ’ re trying to reach a specific group of victims of involvement in drug trafficking who have served time for smuggling drugs into the UK from Jamaica – more specifically powdered cocaine – to do interviews with ( however we can be flexible on the place and type of drug ). We want to learn about their experiences and why they got involved in order to develop a prevention campaign which aims to reduce the number of those getting involved in drug trafficking , which is expected to rise post-COVID . Confidentiality
‘ We ’ re trying to reach a specific group of victims of involvement in drug trafficking who have served time for smuggling drugs into the UK ...’
is really important to us , and everything they share with us will be anonymised throughout the project – we would not use any information that would personally identify anyone . Respondents will be able to withdraw at any point and only answer questions they feel comfortable answering . As a thank you for their participation , we will pay them £ 75 .
Our researchers have great experience in working with vulnerable people in various contexts and I assure you that discussions will be treated with great sensitivity .
If you , or anyone you know , would be interested in participating in this research , please get in touch with me by phone or email . Annie Elliott , researcher , + 44 ( 0 ) 20 7735 8040 , annie . elliott @ revealingreality . co . uk
When I came into prison in 2016 I was on a methadone prescription , but they gave me someone else ’ s script – I was given my methadone and 2x300mg pregabalin . I was given this for three years . I don ’ t know why I was on them – I thought it was part of the detox , but have since found out that it ’ s the maximum dose . Why would someone start me on the maximum dose ?
I keep asking the medical staff but none of them know why it happened . I was given an overdose amount but can ’ t get any answers . They said that this was confirmed from outside as being my proper script but I know for a fact I wasn ’ t on this outside and I know I ’ m having a lot of problems with my legs and back . If no one prescribed me this then how did I get this prescription ? Can you please help me get some answers as I ’ m at the end of my tether .
I ’ m now in a situation where I have to buy these meds from other prisoners to take away pains that I never had before , so prisoners are selling meds they don ’ t need and I ’ m having to buy them because I need them . I ’ m serving a 15-year sentence . Please help me . Mark , prison address withheld
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/ ddnmagazine @ ddnmagazine www . drinkanddrugsnews . com


What we actually mean by ‘ recovery ’ is always the elephant in the room , isn ’ t it ? Recovery can only be defined by the person who identifies as being in recovery , and that definition must remain a personal choice that is recognised as inherently valid . This moves across the entire spectrum of substance use , from medicalised recovery such as a maintenance prescribing , through recreational substance use , all the way to total abstinence . All are considered recovery by someone , and who are we to argue ? If you identify as being in recovery , then as far as we ’ re concerned , you are .

Recovery is about far more than substance use – it ’ s about health and wellbeing , physical , mental , and spiritual . Social connection and non-judgemental support networks are often the first building blocks in recovery . After all , unless you are a monk or a sociopath , it ’ s hard to get anywhere on your own . Humans are tribal creatures . We need somewhere to belong .
We also need a reason to get out of bed in the morning , and that comes with meaningful activity . People often associate this with volunteering or employment , but that is far too narrow a viewpoint . Meaningful activity is having something to be passionate about , to embrace with open arms because it makes you feel alive , to look forward to and build on . It can be anything you choose .


There ’ s never been a hard and fast definition of ‘ recovery ’. It means exactly what it means to you , says Tim Sampey
Individual choice is central to the recovery process . What do I want my life to look like ? What are my needs , and what do I need to do to meet them ? Recovery can only be successful if we can each choose our own future , free in the knowledge that our choice is equal to that of everyone else . Comfort in our own identity and our choices is central to the process . Recovery is about change , in our behaviour , our thinking and our lives . It is about believing in ourselves , and our value as human beings .
Building links with the wider community , often starting with family and friends , and moving outwards like ripples in a pond , is also central to the journey . We begin from a cold and hard place of isolation , and it ends when we embrace the wider world and re-join it as an equal and valued member of society .
Below is a formula that encapsulates the essence of the recovery process . Did you notice it says nothing about substance use ? Good . Recovery is about so much more because we are worth so much more . We are not defined by our substance use . We are defined by who we are and what we do , by our determination to live the life we choose . Simply really . Will someone kindly take the elephant for a walk ?
Tim Sampey is chief executive of Build on Belief , writing as a member of the College of Lived Experience Recovery Organisations ( CLERO )