Drink and Drugs News DDN May 2020 (1) | Page 17

LETTERS AND COMMENT This year we are inviting anyone who is directly or indirectly affected by addiction (individuals, family members, friends, professionals) to make a 60 second film on the theme of ‘Isolation’. RECOVERY STREET MOVES ONLINE With COVID-19 making it unsafe for the usual Recovery Street Film Festival to go ahead this year, we have found a way for it to persevere within the digital space. This year we are inviting anyone who is directly or indirectly affected by addiction (individuals, family members, friends, professionals) to make a 60 second film on the theme of ‘Isolation’. Substance use and isolation have long gone hand in hand, and social isolation is a serious epidemic that many people using substances can understand. We would like to hear what isolations means for you and your loved ones – how has COVID-19 changed your world? Are you feeling isolated or have you found new means of connection? How are you managing to stay connected to positive resources WWW.DRINKANDDRUGSNEWS.COM throughout this period of social distancing? We encourage low-cost film making. We want entries to show an honest account of isolation and be as creative and as imaginative as you wish. Films could be short dramatic plays, drawn or stop- frame animation, documentary- style pieces, personal stories, songs, poems etc. The submission window is now open, so it’s time to start thinking about making your film. Remember, you can get tips and ideas from our ‘Enter the Festival’ page. The judges will be looking for the most original and imaginative approaches to telling stories of isolation, addiction and recovery. The 60 second film should aim to make an immediate impact on the audience. The closing date for submissions is Monday 3 August 2020. Please ensure you make your films safely. Lucie Mauger, Phoenix Futures MAKE THE CASE Following the 2008 banking crisis the economic downturn resulted in the long painful period of austerity and cuts in services. As we all know substance misuse treatment services were some of the hardest hit. Making the case for funding has always been difficult as the sector competes with what the public, and by extension politicians, see as other more deserving groups. With the coming severe economic downturn and likely global recession how can we make the HAVE YOUR SAY Write to the editor and get it off your chest [email protected] case for continued funding for our client group? Previously increases in funding were achieved by creating a ‘crime reduction narrative’ linking money spent on treatment to reductions in crime and the costs of these crimes. While successful in monetary terms, no one wants to return to a strategy that increases stigmatisation of some of the more vulnerable members of society. We need to learn the lessons of the last decade and come together to make the case for drug and alcohol treatment as part of a larger public health initiative, as well as being tied into wider issues around poverty and lack of opportunity. There are some fantastic peer- led initiatives across the country that are huge assets to their local communities, as well as truly inspirational personal stories of people turning their lives around. We need to ensure that these stories are heard and that we communicate the positive impact of drug treatment to individuals and society as a whole. There is a battle for funding coming – shouting about our success could be our best weapon. Simon Powell, by email of paying for all this. More cuts would likely be fatal for a sector that’s already put up with so much, with the treatment field reduced to a service in name only. We all know that our service users are not the public’s favourite choice when it comes to spending money, and we also know the devastation that reduced budgets can lead to among vulnerable populations. The stakes will be higher than ever before, and the sector may well have to stand up and defend itself. It’s our responsibility to make sure we’re fully prepared and able to do that if the time comes. Michael Clarke, by email ‘HEARTACHE TO HEARTBREAK’ Can you imagine the terror As you race to hospital following a call Unconscious now, Your son spared once Returned to the hell of addiction? Pain etched into his face. When will this ever end? You half ask, half hope the obvious answer is somehow not obvious. But how? STAND YOUR GROUND As COVID-19 continues to disrupt every aspect of our lives services are getting by as best they can, and most seem to be doing an incredible job under the circumstances. But as the politicians never tire of telling us, this is going to be a ‘marathon not a sprint’. Even if we see a phased lifting of the lockdown soon there’s every chance that a second wave, either in summer or – potentially far more damagingly – later in the year, when it will coincide with seasonal ’flu, will mean restrictions will have to be put back in place, perhaps tighter than ever. The economic consequences of this are going to be immense, and it’s essential that the field does everything it can to resist bearing the brunt of another round of austerity, if that turns out to be the government’s preferred method I shall never forget the sight of my son lying, eyes closed, swollen, cut, bruised, unconscious, waiting for a sign of returning to waking Only for a gentle, kind, young doctor to run his steth over his skeletal frame. How many times has this happened and I haven’t known?’ Jenepher Parry Davies DDN welcomes your letters Please email the editor, [email protected], or post them to DDN, CJ Wellings Ltd, Romney House, School Road, Ashford, Kent TN27 0LT. Letters may be edited for space or clarity. /ddnmagazine @ddnmagazine www.drinkanddrugsnews.com MAY 2019 • DRINK AND DRUGS NEWS • 17