March 2017 DDN March 2017 DDN Magazine - Page 3

Contents THE TENTH SERVICE USER CONFERENCE editor ’ s letter

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Contents THE TENTH SERVICE USER CONFERENCE editor ’ s letter

‘ One of the strongest messages was a simple one : isolation kills ’

4 NEWS Police offer heroin-assisted treatment ; alcohol deaths up again .
6 POWER OF TEN The tenth DDN service user conference opened with stark reflections on drugrelated deaths and budget cuts – and powerful exhortations to make the service user voice heard .
8 LIFE AND DEATH ISSUES At the Big Debate session , Alex Boyt and Tim Sampey urged delegates to put their views across .
10 ADVOCATING FOR CHANGE An inspiring session heard how user involvement and engagement programmes can form powerful partnerships .
11 MEDIA SAVVY The news and the skews in the national media .
11 POST-ITS FROM PRACTICE There are many vital components to recovery , reflects Dr Gordon Morse .
12 COUNTER CULTURE As the face at the heart of community-based medicine , the pharmacist has an opportunity to profoundly influence welfare , as DDN reports .
14 SHARE AND CONNECT The conference ’ s roundtable information exchange gave ten-minute snapshots of different projects .
15 HOW WILL WE ACT TO STOP DRDS ? Collective Voice , the NHS Substance Misuse Providers Alliance and PHE offer their action plan on the way forward .
16 THE PLACE TO NETWORK Once again , the exhibition was the heart of the event .
18 ENDNOTE Naloxone training , relaxing therapies ... and fleeing the mayhem of Storm Doris .
Conference photography by Jez Tucker and Nigel Brunsdon

We had to make drug-related deaths the focus of this year ’ s conference – we ’ d be living in cloud cuckoo land otherwise . The room was packed with people that were directly affected , as demonstrated by the question , ‘ who in this room has lost someone ?’

We heard about keyworkers struggling with huge caseloads , and the state of constant recommissioning – identified by the ACMD as a driving factor of DRDs . We were reminded that funding will drop further . But the take-home messages were clear : we need better integration between treatment services and the rest of the NHS , and we must do more to improve all-round physical and mental health .
Those who use substances and services must make their voices heard in the fray of local authority commissioning . ‘ Challenge cuts , challenge discrimination ,’ said our speakers . Central to this is making sure harm reduction is not sacrificed for short-term financial gain . OST , naloxone distribution and more injecting facilities were identified as vitally important – to public health as much as individuals .
One of the strongest messages was a simple one : ‘ isolation kills ’. Most of those dying are not in services . Many of those who get a brief window of opportunity for treatment ( say , while they are in prison ) are not receiving it because the system is not ready for them . So let ’ s challenge locally . Find out who your commissioners are , and get involved in decision-making where and when you can . Let us know what ’ s happening in your area and help us to highlight hotspots of strong and weak practice . Help us to improve the one tool we can all use – information . And let ’ s carry on the networking that made this such a powerful occasion .
Claire Brown , editor
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