Voice of experience is vital to infrastructure
Service user involvement, co-production, peer-led initiatives – whatever the terminology, we’re glad to see the renewed efforts to make the voice of experience a vital part of the infrastructure of services. Almost two decades ago when we started DDN, the two-year rule – a nebulous guideline about an amount of time required to be drug-free and therefore stable enough to enter full-time work, and grasped by many as a reason not to put service users on an equal footing – was a real barrier to admitting people back into employment and an equal status.
Now many organisations, including the Scottish Government, have realised the value of people with authentic experience in collaborating on the ‘national mission on drug deaths’ (page 5). The LJWG are among those to go further by making the case for peers as the best people for the job with the highest chance of attracting participation in these vital services (page 6). With the grassroots knowledge and experience embedded in major service providers (page 16) and a keen appetite for collaboration between partners in health, substance use, police and social care (page 20), the time is ripe for making focused, cost-effective – and representative – decisions that will transform the outlook for many.
Claire Brown, editor
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