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
We can no more do without spirituality than we can do without food, shelter or clothing – Bruce Lipton Despite the fact that there are plenty of us about, we don’t have as much information as we would like on people in long term recovery. In one study, Mark Galanter and colleagues took the opportunity … Continue reading Spirituality – steer away or steer towards?
The shortest distance between two people is a story - Patti Digh I must have signed tens of thousands of prescriptions over the years for a variety of medical conditions from athlete's foot to diabetes. Not one patient, as far as I can remember, has congratulated me on my expertise around knowledge of the evidence … Continue reading Are we losing our humanity in addiction treatment?
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.
As a GP in inner-city Glasgow in the 1990s, I looked after patients with heroin addiction. I got to know many of them well, I knew their families, I immunised their children and, distressingly, I saw some of them die. Because of the nature of general practice, I saw the dreadful impact of those deaths … Continue reading Choice in addiction treatment
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
A while back, David Best and Dan Lubman published an article called ‘The Recovery Paradigm: A Model of Hope and Change for Alcohol and Drug Addiction’. I had reason to read it again this week and found much to encourage me in it. Here are some key messages from the piece with my comments in … Continue reading Hope and change for addiction
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.
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.
I’ve been waiting for today with a degree of anxiety throughout the whole of July. Even with the Mediterranean temperatures we’ve basked in this month, my thoughts have regularly turned in dark anticipation to today. Now it is here. Today the new drug-related death statistics for Scotland have been published. 1339 deaths. Up 5% on … Continue reading Scotland’s drug deaths