Drink and Drugs News DDN November 2018 - Page 18

Letters and Comment 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. ‘It is a cause for concern that these deaths will not appear on any national statistics or discussion around drug deaths in the wider press.’ False pictUre At the recent meeting of the Drugs, Alcohol and Criminal Justice Cross-Party Parliamentary Group, the subject of drugs deaths was discussed again, and the ONS reported a tiny fall in the number of deaths reported as ‘drug poisoning’ in 2017, after a period of year-on-year rises. While any decrease in the number of drug deaths is to be welcomed, I cannot help but worry that these figures paint a false picture of a much grimmer reality to the wider world. In the past two weeks I am aware of three individuals who have sadly passed away in West London. The causes of death will be recorded variously as heart failure, asthma attack or possibly even natural causes in one case, and yet in each instance there is no doubt the major contributing factor to these early and untimely deaths was a long history of problematic substance use. It is a cause for concern that these deaths, by no means unique and most certainly not uncommon, will not appear on any national statistics or discussion around drug deaths in the wider press. If the reporting of drug deaths were to include those individuals for whom their substance use was a major contributing factor in their early demise, irrespective of the eventual cause of death, then I imagine you could increase the number of deaths recorded by a factor of ten, if not a great deal more. Perhaps then we could have an honest discussion with the rest of our fellow citizens about the need for a properly funded treatment system, still lacking in so wealthy a nation. I for one am more than a little weary of adding yet more names to my personal Book of the Dead and quietly mourning those who should still be with us. Tim Sampey, chief executive, Build on Belief 18 | drinkanddrugsnews | November 2018 be careFUl what yoU wish For It’s increasingly difficult to engage with any kind of media without coming across yet another opinion column extolling the virtues of drug legalisation and regulation, or some kind of ‘debate’ that pitches three pro-legalisers against some hapless lone defender of the status quo. It does now seem inevitable that we are ultimately heading in that direction, but I think it’s a decision that we’ll come to regret. The catastrophic opioid epidemic in the US is largely the result of legal, prescription opioids, and no one with any sense really buys into the argument that legalisation will see a short spike in use that will eventually level out. What we’ll see will be a free-for-all, no matter what spurious and ineffectual controls on advertising and marketing are put in place. And surely no one believes it will put the dealers and drug gangs out of business either? The Canadian government is proudly trumpeting the fact that you have to be over 18 to legally buy cannabis – which market do they think the dealers will be catering for, in that case? Mephedrone, before it became illegal, was widely used by people who’d never taken drugs before, simply because it was easy to buy online and the ‘legal high’ status made it sound safe. After the Psychoactive Substances Act, rates of use plummeted. In the drug treatment field, it’s easy to exist in a bubble and forget that most people don’t actually know any drug dealers or have easy access to drugs. As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for. Simon Fanning, by email /DDNMagazine @DDNMagazine www.drinkanddrugsnews.com Urban recovery In his article in last month’s issue (‘Adios Recovery Riviera?’, DDN October, page 15) Mark Gilman questioned the wisdom of sending people miles away to rehab instead of supporting them within the community. Danielle Robinson responds TRADITIONALLY RESIDENTIAL REHABS TEND TO BE LOCATED IN RURAL AREAS, by the coast, away from the busy towns and the inner city. The Acquiesce model of urban recovery simply means completing residential rehabilitation in an urban setting where there are triggers aplenty! Acquiesce believes that recovery is not about living in fear and hiding away from the world, but supporting individuals to achieve their potential and live life to the fullest – and to learn to deal with triggers, we need to experience being triggered. For example, a simple everyday task like visiting the supermarket could result in relapse. There may have been an intention to enter to purchase food, but the sight of the alcohol aisle could act as a trigger. If this trigger is not managed, it could escalate. The urban recovery model allows for individuals to recover in real life situations, while being in a secure and supported environment. They have the opportunity to gain the tools and experience necessary to recover, while maintaining a level of autonomy and responsibility over the process. The model offers a philosophy of care that helps to ensure people are included in their families, communities, employment and education. We deliver this using a five-pronged approach of providing treatment for the psychological, physical, spiritual, social and family aspects of addiction, using a combination of evidence-based 12-step and therapeutic approaches. Our outcomes evidence shows that individuals who access residential rehab in their own locality can successfully build their recovery networks where they live. You could travel to the opposite end of the earth to go to a rehab centre but you will still take yourself with you. We feel it is important to identify that dealing with addiction is an inside job as well looking at external factors. Building your recovery capital locally can make leaving treatment a much less scary prospect, as you are leaving with a plan of support that you have already begun engaging with. Many individuals are at their most vulnerable as they leave a rural residential treatment facility to return to their community, as they have not built local recovery links and can feel like they are returning to their home town from their ‘treatment bubble’ only to start from square one. Danielle Robinson is service manager at Acquiesce, www.acquiesce.org.uk www.drinkanddrugsnews.com