Drink and Drugs News DDN March 2020 | Page 13

HEART ‘When addiction psychiatrists retire, there will be no more in training. There are almost no psychologists in addiction anymore.’ ‘There are significant deficiencies in action with essential early diagnosis not happening.’ Peer-led initiatives could help to tackle stigma head-on: ‘The real key is meeting someone who’s had the problem and recovered,’ he said. ‘It’s about giving people the key to change the situation themselves.’ HUGE AMOUNT OF INSTABILITY there will be no more in training,’ she said. Constant retendering had contributed to their reluctance to enter the workforce, and there were ‘almost no psychologists in addiction anymore’. SURVIVAL FUNCTIONS Dr Stephen Ryder, who gave a talk on liver disease, said that there was ‘a mismatch between what industry wants and what health and social care wants’. The fact that England was ‘still waiting for an alcohol strategy’ demonstrated this, and he encouraged GPs to keep working on survival functions. ‘The government won’t do anything, so we have to do something,’ he said. Despite high hospital admissions for alcohol-related diagnosis of liver disease, there were ‘significant deficiencies in action’ with essential early diagnosis not happening and more than half of people dying within two years of a late diagnosis. In a conference called ‘Navigating the storm’ there was an atmosphere of battling through and looking for the patches of blue sky. But as seen in the conference message, the overwhelming response from GPs was – enough’s enough. Health and sensible policy must be first priority in this cash-starved sector to stop the scandal of drug and alcohol related deaths. DDN Speaking in the final session of the conference about the future of addictions treatment, Dr Emily Finch referred to the ‘huge amount of instability’. ‘All addictions treatment Dr Stephen Ryder Dr Emily Finch tends to be in a silo in local authorities,’ she said. ‘People don’t believe it when you say “we’re not running that by the sweeping movement of recovery. ‘The service anymore”.’ positives that came out of that included peer There was also ‘a real loss of skills in the support – but somehow it was couched as against what we did before,’ he said. ‘We need sector’. ‘When addiction psychiatrists retire, to combine harm reduction and recovery.’ ‘We also need to try to change the system to a chronic care model,’ he said, citing Maslow – ‘you don’t reach actualisation unless you have something stable underneath’ – which could begin with needing methadone, for example. We deplore that in 2020 drug- We call on the council to: The current threats loomed large – the related deaths are the highest on reduction in budgets and turbulence in the record and now a public health crisis. Recognise the devastating impact of lack of commissioning system, combined with funding to drug and alcohol services since workforce issues that saw an exodus of skills We call on the College to work the 2012 Health and Social Care Act, with and opportunities. with policy makers to not consequent destruction of shared care services But ‘in the rush to manage risk and KPIs we criminalise people who use drugs and lack of workforce of those able to work forget how to relate to people,’ he said, with and implement all evidence- effectively with people who use drugs. harm reduction and recovery both vital parts of based harm reduction measures the equation. to reduce drug deaths including Support minimum unit price for alcohol as ‘The development of peer-led recovery consumption rooms and heroin the single most important harm reduction communities has stalled,’ he said, neglecting an assisted treatment for those measure to reduce health inequalities and save opportunity for engagement and strategy. ‘We need who need it. lives for people who have alcohol problems. to find a way to kickstart self-sustaining systems.’ CONFERENCE STATEMENT • • WWW.DRINKANDDRUGSNEWS.COM MARCH 2020 • DRINK AND DRUGS NEWS • 13