Comment from the substance misuse sector

Letters and comment 

LettersDDN welcomes your Letters Please email the editor,, or post them to DDN, CJ Wellings Ltd, 57 High Street, Ashford, Kent TN24 8SG. Letters may be edited for space or clarity.

Naloxone no-brainer

I’ve just been reading the article talking with Philippe Bonnet about naloxone (DDN, June, page 6) and agree with what he says. Naloxone is relatively easy to deploy – the key issue in most places is the political will to do so. The administration of it is simple, the economics are a ‘no-brainer’ and the paperwork/training is so simple to implement, given that there is so much already been done in other areas around providing naloxone.

I recently worked as commissioner in Barnsley and left the area last December, where they were committed to providing every client with two kits, one for home and one to carry with them – the economics are that good. I convinced the DPH and DAAT board that this was a necessary piece of work to undertake.

Currently I’m working in Hereford­shire, retendering the substance misuse services for the county. In that there is a clear expectation that the new provider will offer naloxone across the service to those who might need/would benefit from the provision of kits. Again I would be advocating a double kit allocation per person. At the moment people are provided naloxone on script but I’ve sanctioned training for staff around this. As Philippe mentions, the cost of a lost life outweighs any cost for naloxone and associated expense. I know that Herefordshire will take this forward to reduce the risk of overdose and death.

Clive Hallam, public health commissioning manager (interim), Hereford


Prison testing

The article in your April edition (page 14) on drugs in prison was excellent. Nothing could be more logical and effective than Neil McKeganey’s proposals for mounting a massive programme of regular and exhaustive drug testing of all prisoners – providing the usage to which that valuable test data is put is also itself sane and effective.

Failure to stop drug smuggling and lack of encouragement for widespread testing may well be the prison system’s natural compensation for the failure of prison psychiatrists and pharmaceutical advisors to cure addiction.

It therefore follows that an identified drug user should immediately be transferred to a ‘withdrawal wing’ where they can be handled with a 49-year established and proven ‘drug-free’ withdrawal procedure, as a precursor to a fuller sauna and vitamin detoxification course leading to stable recovery.

These procedures have been followed in prisons around the world since 1966, some of which today have their own addiction recovery training courses – run by the prisoners themselves. Readers wanting proof of the above should phone (0044) or (0) 1342 810151 to request a free copy of a DVD shot inside prisons as far apart as the USA and China.

Ken Eckersley, CEO Addiction Recovery Training Services (ART)


James DickinsonJames Dickinson holds a framed picture of A dog’s life (DDN, June, p18), the story of Bert – the unofficial head of treatment at Chandos House. It now has pride of place in their entrance hall.