Drink and Drugs News DDN October 2018 | Page 13

manufacturing or stocking the short range of ‘small-doses’ essential to withdrawing their clients from addiction. Furthermore, with the full total costs of OST hidden by their being spread across several government departments, the National Audit Office reports an annual cost of £9.4bn to maintain and support former illicit addicts on methadone or buprenorphine, etc. But we know that 13 weeks of proven addiction recovery training technology would cure 70 to 75 per cent of them. Cures taking 13 weeks and six to nine months may not be ‘quick fixes’, but, in less than a year, we would start significantly reducing the number of addicts from 5.2m to 1.56m, whilst at the same time saving £9.65bn every year for the next 20+ years. E. Kenneth Eckersley, C.E.O. Addiction Recovery Training Services (ARTS) shared care pLea In 2018, how can a person die at age 49, a son and father, and it be somehow acceptable, expected? There may be a review, but due to his lifestyle it will not really be questioned. In fact he may not be the only one this week, but still it won’t sound any major alarm bells. And yet we live in one of the best cities to live in the UK – just not if you struggle with substance misuse. At 49, his death was not unexpected. In the drug and alcohol service we like to think we tried hard to prevent it, with frequent appointments and letter writing to the other services involved. We wanted to apply for inpatient detox funding from our limited, rationed budget. We needed mental health to support this as he had a dual diagnosis and was prescribed antipsychotics – largely unmonitored – for years. www.drinkanddrugsnews.com He was given the familiar message, and to live with constant voices in your head and be told you can’t access help until you stop drinking is a hard position to find yourself in. How do you even start this process when you know alcohol is the one thing to quieten them? There is no longer a link mental health worker who would pick up people struggling like this, no single point of contact for patients with the most complex needs. He was clearly ill, he knew it, we all knew it. He didn’t access his GP – perhaps he may have if we still had access to the more specialist GP service set up for those with housing issues or substance misuse, but that closed some years ago. It’s still fondly remembered by patients and the staff still working in the sector, but shared care stopped so there is no ‘specialist ‘ at the GP service. Logically, he could have spoken to the doctors and nurses at the substance misuse service, but they can only address his drug and alcohol problems – although on a different day and in a different location they could help with these other problems and refer him for help rather than ask others to do it. Why have we become so sectorised? We can’t even communicate electronically, as our systems don’t talk to each other. He will not be the only one dying needlessly. The case will be discussed and the usual topics will come up – mental health services, primary care support, access to detox funding, but there is no money and no joined-up thinking. He has been failed by a system content to fail, to let down some of the most vulnerable in society with increasingly complex mental and physical health problems. In any other population, young adults dying at such frequency would cause an outcry. Here, well, ‘it was expected’. Name and address supplied Let's connect! Have your say by commenting on our website, Facebook page and tweeting us In response to our Facebook story ‘140 lives “saved” during first months of safe injecting room trial in Melbourne’ Alexandra Georgina Harrison To the opposition saying it sends the wrong message to kids, what about bars and pubs? People kill themselves slowly on a regular basis with alcohol and no one bats an eye. Gary Wicker Sadly this is a little skewed as one working in the drug and substance field for 15 years. What they don't share is the related drug or substance deaths from increased drug use as many will be logged as natural causes and not related to drug-related death… it only works for a few and will not help the majority become substance free, but only as I have witnessed create a stable crutch of use for those using. I have tried both models and my own personal feeling is this is a model filled with many pitfalls and cannot be sustained due to huge cost, and nobody is willing to pick up these immense staffing and substance costs. Having said that I am willing to give it a go if it saves just one life and a family from a life destroyed by drug misuse. Larry Barnett Brushing it under the rug doesn't help. Provide support. No matter what. Safer for everybody… People use, for whatever reason, and sometimes the back story associated with the use is harrowing. Sometimes ‘everyday’ people in ‘everyday’ walks of life use. Supporting clean use makes absolute sense. Demonising, punishing, persecuting, ostracising is ridiculous. Make it safe, clean, accepting, supportive, helpful, love. /DDNMagazine @DDNMagazine www.drinkanddrugsnews.com October 2018 | drinkanddrugsnews | 13