Drink and Drugs News DDN February 2020 | Page 13

OR ACTION ‘Water’ could mean ‘tap water, bottled water, puddle water, surface water on cars, water from toilet cisterns, whisky, cider, coca cola, saliva, lemon juice’, she stated. Sunny Dhadley, representing Anyone’s Child, spoke about his journey from a life of problem drug use to his work as a freelance consultant and his time developing a peer-led service in Wolverhampton. Current drug policy was ‘unfair, immoral and unethical’ and was ‘harming far more people than it ever should’, he said. Dr Steve Taylor, consultant at Birmingham Heartlands HIV Service, then offered an update on the new HIV testing taking place on an outreach basis targeting hard to reach communities. ‘We’ve never had so many people on the streets in wheelchairs,’ said Sue McCutcheon from Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust, as she spoke about her work providing outreach healthcare to the city’s homeless and rough sleeping populations. WWW.DRINKANDDRUGSNEWS.COM Perhaps the most important part of the day was the call to action to raise support for the inclusion of drug treatment services in the Health and Social Care Act She powerfully described the challenges of her work and the rise in infections and viruses among the people she treats, many of whom are using a variety of drugs but are not engaged with any drug treatment services. James Pierce is writing in a personal capacity as an NNEF member There might be a greater moral claim for considering the health effects of men’s drinking on women. THE MOTIVATIONS and makeup of the temperance movement are more complicated than their simplified legacy would suggest. Rather than a regressive movement consumed with moralist disdain for alcohol use, many of its most ardent supporters wanted alcohol banned for a much more practical reason: women’s safety. Drunk men, they observed, were more likely to sexually assault women, more likely to beat their wives and children, and more likely to subject passing women to sexual harassment… While contemporary concerns about the health impacts of drinking focus on the damage done to the drinker – the impact, say, on his liver, brain, and heart – there might be a greater moral claim for considering the health effects of men’s drinking on women. What is the price that women pay in enduring sexual violence, sexual harassment and domestic violence, for men’s good time? Moira Donegan, Guardian, 3 January APART FROM THE FACT that tightening controls on GHB would unlikely deter those who use it to date rape, doing so would again divert attention away from the more common chemical culprit in rape cases. Now would be an opportunistic moment for the home secretary to draw attention to the role alcohol plays in sexual assault – but given the long-standing and cosy relationship between the alcohol industry and government (both red and blue), that’s unlikely. Until that relationship breaks down, sexual assaults facilitated by alcohol will continue. Ian Hamilton, Independent, 8 January IF ALCOHOL had been discovered in the past year or two, it would be illegal. The safe limit, if you applied current food-standards criteria, would be one glass of wine a year. Would you take a new drug if you were told it would increase your risk of cancer, dementia and heart disease, or that it shortened your life? You wouldn’t touch it. Yet over the past 50 years, alcohol has become entrenched in our lives. David Nutt, Mail, 4 January WE NEED GPS, employers and policymakers pushing for change as much as we need the public to accept that addicts are not trying to be difficult. They are not trying to break the law. They are not trying to drain health service resources. They are trying to stay alive. At the end of the day, if we hate the idea of addiction so much because of its impact in society, then I believe the only way we can get rid of it is to show compassion to addicts. You might not be able to step in their shoes, but think about it – would anyone choose a life of fear and pain? Lucy Nicol, Independent, 20 January FEBRUARY 2020 • DRINK AND DRUGS NEWS • 13