Some things worth knowing

Credit: istockphoto/GlobalIP, under license

Here are some things/experiences that came onto my radar in the last week. I don’t think there’s much linking them, but some bits and pieces may be of interest to others.

On mutual aid

‘Analyses reveal that membership of mutual aid groups is strongly associated with more participation and (self-reported) changes in social networks, greater levels of recovery capital, and a stronger commitment to sobriety. The findings suggest that participation in mutual aid groups may support addiction recovery through multiple mechanisms of change in favour of recovery. These findings highlight how mutual aid support may complement formal addiction treatment.’[1]

On residential treatment

A group monitoring progress in delivery of the Scottish Government’s drug and alcohol policy, Rights, Respect and Recovery reports: ‘A substantial knowledge and evidence gap relates to the use of residential rehabilitation, standards of care to optimise outcomes, and interfaces with care services to minimise risks to the individual during transitions of care.’

While there is certainly a need to improve the evidence base on residential rehab (the irony and catch 22 being that few academics rate it worthy of attention in the first place), this slant felt a bit like a reiteration of the ‘there’s no evidence that rehab works’ line. Perhaps I’m too cynical. You can find some of the evidence here.[2]

On recovery narratives 

NHS Lothian’s Grand Rounds (on line teaching sessions for staff) this week featured Colin Baird a doctor (anaesthetist) in recovery from opiate dependence weaving his own powerful and authentically told story with the evidence around doctors’ addiction and recovery rates. You can find out more about his story here.[3]

One day it happened—I slipped a syringe of unused fentanyl into my pocket at the end of the case and that was that.

Dr Colin Baird

On opportunity 

The Scottish Government have just launched a series of funds worth a total of £18M to fund improvements in addiction treatment services in Scotland. Now that’s what I call good news! 

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[1] Thomas F. Martinelli, Dike van de Mheen, David Best, Wouter Vanderplasschen & Gera E. Nagelhout (2020) Are members of mutual aid groups better equipped for addiction recovery? European cross-sectional study into recovery capital, social networks, and commitment to sobriety, Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, DOI: 10.1080/09687637.2020.1844638

[2] Public Health Scotland, Monitoring and Evaluating Rights, Respect and Recovery (MERRR): Monitoring report 2021 

[3] Baird CR. Substance use disorder in anaesthetists: A personal perspective. Anaesth Intensive Care. 2021 Jan;49(1):12-22. doi: 10.1177/0310057X20969704. Epub 2021 Jan 25. PMID: 33492177.

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