Did a recovery strategy cause drug deaths?

There’s a narrative that’s been around for a while, but it’s been gaining ground in the last few months. This last couple of months alone, it’s been in the ether, permeating social media conversations and even appeared in an academic paper. The issue relates to recovery-oriented drug policies and the tone is negative.  The thrust … Continue reading Did a recovery strategy cause drug deaths?

The tortuous routes to rehab

I’ve been reading a bit recently about the challenges of healthcare funding in the United States - an ‘international scandal’ according to Noam Chomsky. And although the problems are not the same, those issues have become linked with my thinking on the difficulties of accessing funding for residential rehabilitation in Scotland. The Lord Advocate’s recent statement allows … Continue reading The tortuous routes to rehab

Alcohol deaths response – a whimper rather than a bang?

Given that there was a 17% year on year increase in fatalities and that the number of alcohol-specific deaths is a significant underestimate of deaths in which alcohol plays a part, I wondered in a tweet why there was a more muted reaction to the alcohol deaths than to the drug deaths. This touched a nerve it seems. A lot of responses were generated and I wanted to share some of the themes here.

What effect does harm reduction have on recovery culture? Guest blog by Dylan Lundgren

It seems to be human nature to go to extremes; especially when something shows promising results. Harm reduction has been shown to save lives and therefore should be celebrated and implemented. However, it seems that harm reduction has become the entire conversation about recovery; specifically, the support of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT).  Alex Pentland, a professor studying human behaviour at … Continue reading What effect does harm reduction have on recovery culture? Guest blog by Dylan Lundgren

Tackling drug deaths: let’s add this in

Healthy social networks (the people we connect with) are protective. Improving social networks brings gains in physical and mental health. In 2010, Julianne Holt-Lunstad and her colleagues undertook an impressive meta-analysis (massive review of the evidence available) to see how social relationships influenced mortality. They found a protective effect for those with stronger social relationships. In fact, for this group there was a 50% increased likelihood of survival.

Drug deaths in Scotland: hope on the horizon?

Harm reduction interventions need to be widely available, accessible, delivered efficiently and proactively and evaluated and improved. Harm reduction services also need to have porous borders with treatment and recovery services and have hope embedded in the form of peers in recovery working within teams. A recovery-oriented system of care sees interventions not in silos, but in a continuum with the individual’s needs at the centre and the person on a journey. The person's goals, not the professional's goals (which can be at odds) should be paramount.