The rising rate of homelessness in this country is a scandal that shames our society. Furthermore, we are passive to the theory that through wrong choices, drugs and alcohol, those on the streets nominate their fate as they become consigned to an invisible underclass that will die a third of a lifetime sooner than they should.
We need, as Alex Stevens says (page 16), to challenge the narrative and acknowledge the moral bankruptcy involved. Crucially, we must do more to bring evidence to daily practice through simple, cost- effective harm reduction, early interventions, and the confidence to reach out and create strong peer networks. Turning our backs on this situation and leaving it to others is not an option – we have the knowledge and the networks to disseminate better practice and ensure that people like Jo (who brought her experience to the recent conference on homelessness) do not fall through the gaps.
An important part of the story is the case studies provided by experts by experience/patients/service users. Their feedback is our gain in improving services, and they should be equal partners in consultation. Our cover story combines service user involvement with innovation and shows what can be achieved as an exciting idea takes hold.
This month we’re looking forward to seeing you at our annual conference, where we’ll be hosting a debate on the future shape of service user involvement. Let’s embrace the opportunity to create a national network that has a clear and informed voice and strikes at the heart of where it’s most needed.
Conference details and booking at www.drinkanddrugsnews.com
Keep in touch @DDNmagazine. Your letters are welcome – email the editor