DDN September 2023 DDN September_2023_v2 | Page 20


Many roads

The 15th DDN Conference
The afternoon at Many Roads was a lively interactive session , where delegates explored treatment choice , stigma , the power of peers , and more
How do we challenge ‘ one size fits all ’? In London , for example , there had been entire boroughs with just a single treatment modality – and a lot of this simply came down to poor commissioning . Services had been declining over the course of the last decade across every indicator , resulting in a severe lack of choice . The funding system after drug treatment ’ s move to public health also meant that more money was being spent on bureaucracy , with many projects abandoned simply because they weren ’ t big enough .
‘ It ’ s the abandonment of empathy ,’ said one delegate . In some areas , people were required to do around nine weeks of group work prior to a detox – ‘ they ’ d lost interest by then ’. Another thought that the drugs issue
had been framed in a way – ‘ as is often the case with politicians – that we need to make people jump through hoops to solve it ’, ignoring the fundamental truth that it should be about choice . ‘ You can ’ t let service providers off the hook , either ’, another delegate stated . ‘ There ’ s often an attitude of “ this is what we do here ”.’ People who were using on top of their prescriptions could be thrown off a service despite the fact that ‘ these are exactly the people you want in here .’
‘ If you ’ re a menopausal woman living in temporary accommodation on your own , or an 18-year-old person surrounded by a supportive family , one size fits all won ’ t work . There ’ s a lack of engagement
with the individual , and far too much ticking boxes .’
‘ I ’ m wondering what ’ s happened to outreach services . During the pandemic it was exciting that we could go out and find people and do testing on the street , or at least be talking to them . I think more drug services should be proactive in getting out there .’
‘ We need to have staff and peer support from different backgrounds , ethnicities and experiences .’
‘ We have to challenge “ one size fits all ” – everyone is different and LGBTQ +, women , and diverse communities are underrepresented . We need upto-date NDTMS information to show who is actually accessing treatment .’
‘ There were nine weeks of group work before getting access to detox … and too many hoops to jump through to get seen .’
‘ We are all different , and we all have different needs . Throughout the years I ’ ve observed that many treatment centres have one approach for all clients , and that ’ s wrong .’
‘ We need a robust referral and assessment process to ensure the right treatment at the right time for the right person .’
‘ There should be treatment tailored to fit a specific cohort – ex-forces veterans , male and female . It would need agreed boundaries to be effective .’
‘ We need to challenge “ one size fits all ” treatment through different