Drink and Drugs News DDN June 2019 | Page 8

Profile Brand New Day Dr Edward Day has just been appointed as the government’s drug recovery champion. He talks to DDN about the challenges and opportunities of the new role ‘I f I was going to pick one thing, it’s still the stigma of drug use,’ says Dr Edward Day of the challenges that his new role as the government’s drug recovery champion will need to address (see news, page 4). ‘There’s a real job to do to break down the prejudice against people who’ve had a drug problem.’ A 20-year veteran of the field, he started out at what was then the regional addiction unit in Birmingham while still a junior doctor training in psychiatry. ‘That really sparked my interest,’ he says. ‘It 8 | drinkanddrugsnews | June 2019 was a very different world back then – a 25-bed unit with an outpatient bit attached in the grounds of an old psychiatric hospital, and we had probably a couple of thousand patients who came from the whole of the West Midlands. You got a detox and relatively little else. But that patient group really spoke to me, and I decided that this was what I was going to do.’ After completing his PhD he became a consultant in an NHS drug service in Birmingham, and worked there until he started his current role as consultant psychiatrist at the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust five years ago. He’s also clinical reader in addiction psychiatry at the University of Birmingham, and now drug recovery champion on top – isn’t that a lot to take on? ‘Well, I’ve always had a clinical/academic role, so I’ve always juggled those two things,’ he says. ‘Half my week is spent doing hands-on clinical work and the research I do is all patient-centred, so the two feed off each other. It can be a challenge at times but the two sides of the job go hand in hand.’ He’s also been heavily involved in shaping national www.drinkanddrugsnews.com