30th June issue

Come on, out with it!

Why open debate can only be healthy for this field

Reading about Jane’s experience as she walked into a family support service is a powerful reminder of what support services are about (page 6) – whether they are drug treatment services, carers’ support networks, or the wider services that help put life’s building blocks back into place. Her overwhelming relief that there were people there who not only understood what she was going through, but could put a practical action plan together for her to cope with the trauma of facing up to her son’s behaviour, put her back on track in a way that struggling on her own could never have done.

We’re engaged in debate about recovery at the moment (following last issue’s article on the UKDPC recovery statement, debated at the NTA’s annual conference) and part of that process is experiencing the painful railing against polarisation that manifests itself on bulletin boards and blogs, as well as directly to us here at DDN. But I make no apology for carrying debate, because that’s exactly what DDN is here for. If you’re part of a harm reduction network, you know why you’re there; if you’re contributing to a blog that supports abstinence you know you’re among like-minded friends. But addiction doesn’t microchip its subjects with the ‘right’ treatment mode; that’s for us to work out, by debate, by knowledge-sharing, and by convincing others through the benefit of research and experience. If we don’t get it right, Jane’s son continues to terrorise his family and presses the self-destruct button harder; if we do get it right… well read the cover feature (page 6) and tell me if it’s worth it.

Direct experience speaks volumes, particularly Christopher Hallam’s article – a personal account of how methadone maintenance has helped him create a new and productive life, in which he spells out what the threat of being without it means to him. The article speaks volumes about the individuality of drug treatment and should surely stop in their tracks anyone who believes that treatment is about herding everyone down the same road.

Read the magazine: PDF Version