‘We need a service user
voice. We have access to people –
but not the infrastructure to get
to them. We’re too busy trying to
keep people alive.’
Reports, pictures and videos:
Tim Sampey, BoB
‘The common point
today is that service user
involvement is absolutely vital.
It gives a sense of hope
Jon Roberts, Dear Albert
and tobacco at Public Health England, alcohol presentations in drug treatment have
reduced by 19 per cent in three years, which is significant when you consider all
other drugs have dropped by just 5 per cent.
Alongside the tension and frustrations there’s no doubt there was a great deal
of passion and commitment at the conference. The afternoon session felt far
more personal, with speakers sharing their own stories and experiences of drug
use. There is a great amount of positivity around service user involvement, despite
the pressures treatment is under and it is inspiring to hear of the hard work
which is taking place across the country to support service users in treatment.
The voice of service users is more important than ever, and the conference
highlighted both the great work and the clear frustrations which exist. On the way
back down to London I spent a lot of time reflecting on Tim’s quote, trying to
remember all the names and faces of the people I knew who died in nine years
whilst working in treatment. Like Tim, I couldn’t remember them all and the process
of reflecting was tiring, difficult and draining. Yet it reminded me how important
this issue is, and spending a day surrounded by people who, despite the sadness,
won’t ever stop championing for service users was, and always is, a privilege.
Paul North is director of external affairs at Volteface and tweets at @Paul__North
pressure people to stop taking drugs so much, more
people would attend for support.
On several occasions the question was asked ‘how
do we make sure those who don’t access services are
represented?’. This is an important question, especially
considering most drug-related deaths are among
those who are not in treatment services. As pointed
out by Rosanna O’Connor, director for alcohol, drugs
The ARC (Ayriss Recovery Coventry CIC) attended the
DDN conference and found the day really insightful.
We met some great people from different organisa -
tions, made some new contacts, offered support and
received advice, and learnt about new initiatives and
products available. As a small organisation that was
only formed in October 2018, this is massively vital
in making connections with like-minded services.
The guest speakers were really passionate and
enthusiastic and it was a delight to see people driven
by topics like harm reduction. Everyone got a chance
to get involved and ask questions and join in.
It was a really fantastic day and we look forward
to coming again next year.
Louise, The Arc (Ayriss Recovery Coventry CIC)
This was my second DDN conference. I met some
thoroughly interesting people, had a fun day, and
the programme of speakers was excellent. We heard
about the importance of service user involvement
and groups, improvements in the distribution of
naloxone, new gambling addiction support,
experience of making a short film, and much more.
The most inspiring was ‘An open heart’ by Jacquie
Johnston, who shared her personal story, I felt
privileged to hear it. Such a worthwhile get
together – thanks DDN. I recommend you
experience a DDN conference.
Helen Hayden, service manager Harrow and
newsletter editor, Build on Belief
March 2019 | drinkanddrugsnews | 19