Someone relatively new to the substance use disorder area asked me recently why I thought there was so much division and hostility in the addiction and recovery field, compared to other parts of health and social care. Do we really have more conflict than in some other healthcare areas? There are strongly held positions which … Continue reading Polarisation, tension and hostility: just another day in the field of addictions.
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
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.
This week in Scotland we’ve been reeling from the impact of the publication of the 2019 drug-related death statistics. The awful graphs are everywhere, their bright colours standing in sharp contrast to the horror they relate. Our feelings clamour for attention, a powerful mixture of anger, grief, bewilderment and shame. The newspapers are full of … Continue reading Drug deaths in Scotland: hope on the horizon?
There’s an urgent need to improve our response to Scotland’s drug problems. The focus has quite rightly been on harm reduction interventions, but some (including me) have also called for better access to residential rehab as part of the spectrum of approaches. While clearly not a panacea, could residential rehab make an impact on drug … Continue reading Rehab in Scotland: joining things up
I'm not a fan of either of these high profile addiction experts, but Stanton Peele's recounting of his meeting with Gabor Maté illuminates a lot about both men and their approach to addiction. It also helps in understanding the conceptual boundaries of harm reduction, at least as Peele sees them. The boundaries are more rigid than … Continue reading Stanton, you have deep unresolved pain
I'm doubling up this week with two posts on harm reduction from December 2006. I've written often about the subtle bigotry of low expectations, these two posts illustrate that concern. (I like my reference to "pessimistic paternalism disguised as compassionate pragmatism.") ======================== Debate on abstinence A horrifying excerpt from a debate in a British treatment provider magazine. … Continue reading Throwback Sunday – Pessimistic Paternalism
DJ Mac directs us to an interview with a English recovering harm reduction advocate, Kevin Jaffray. He shares a little of his own experience of fighting and, eventually, entering recovery. [emphasis mine] Speaking as someone who came into abstinence kicking and screaming – thankfully with my health intact – after a number of chaotic years in … Continue reading you are still valued and respected
I recently stumbled onto this blog post with a very interesting observation about Vancouver, Insite and HIV infection rates. Vancouver has seen a marked decrease in the incidence of AIDS/HIV and those who promote harm reduction sites point to the injection site called Insite as proof of success but they are wrong. The reduction of HIV/AIDS in … Continue reading Vancouver, Insite and HIV infection rates
This article got me thinking about the bigotry of low expectations and the importance of continuing to assert that every addict should be offered treatment services that provide a path to full recovery, not just symptom or harm reduction. If it's not suicide or drug overdoses doing the killing in psychiatric patients after all, how … Continue reading “looking past these behaviors”