Bill White in the UK

Bill White recently visited with some recovery advocates in the UK. There are several reactions posted at Wired in to recovery. Here’s an interesting one on the cultural gap between the US and the UK:

I think I am right is saying that being welfare dependent carries more social stigma in the US than it does here. I think what I am trying to say is that there is a different social context for self-help and mutal aid and therefore recovery.

In the UK’s welfare state, there is a large body of middle class professionals (including drugs workers) who are charged with managing the lower orders of addicts. They may unwittingly “infantilse” the people in their care when they say things like, “You’re not ready for detox”.

I was reminded of something that was said to me a few years ago in a heated debate about harm reduction. “Sometimes, liberal minded people do the wrong things for the right reasons and their conservative opposites end up doing the right things for the wrong reasons”.

I’m still chewing on this and I don’t really buy the right/wrong reasons–I think there are people with good and bad motives on both ends of the political spectrum. I started to write more, but I’ll leave it at that.

2 thoughts on “Bill White in the UK

  1. It is interesting to compare cultures when it comes to addiction and treatment. I heard Bill White in the UK and was very impressed. I was also disappointed that he hadn’t been briefed terribly well about how different things are here. I think he may have targeted his presentation differently had he been made more aware.It rings true for me that middle class professionals may inadvertently ‘infantalise’ clients, though I suspect that this happens in many other areas in healthcare, not just addiction. The comment ‘you’re not ready for detox’ is so ubiquitous here that I’m tired of hearing it from clients who quite clearly ought to be given a chance at a drug free recovery and who were told ad nauseum that it was ‘too dangerous’.I agree, motives are complex things to tease out.I’d be very interested to read what you didn’t say!

  2. thanks for the blogI have lots of buds in the UK and I’ve certainly heard the social stigma comparison before. A comment like “Not ready for Detox” can mean different things to different people. Hopefully the help will come when the person truly wants and needs it.

Comments are closed.