DDN November 2020

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‘How can we change appalling statistics?’

Writing and reading about drug-related deaths is depressing for all of us – the inevitability year after year, when policy doesn’t follow the evidence.DDN Magazine November 2020

The question is (as raised on many pages of this issue) how can we affect the situation? How can we do things differently, and make others see things differently, to change these appalling statistics? It’s no mystery that tackling underlying healthcare discrimination should be a primary focus.

Sharing the ‘safe supply’ scheme from his home in British Columbia, Bill Nelles (p16) charts the journey of one straightforward harm reduction approach, through the challenges of risk assessment, scepticism and moral dilemma, to finally become official health policy. He hopes that the UK could follow suit with a similar approach – can we believe we will? The fact that Peter Krykant was challenged by police for providing his life-saving drug consumption van (p5) shows how far we have to go.

The groundswell of activism and appetite for collaboration could transform this dismal landscape. We have the evidence base and experience, and we have many minds thinking alike. We have the challenges of COVID to contend with, as well as budget worries. But let’s not allow inertia to be a reason why things didn’t change.

Claire Brown, editor

Read the issue as a virtual magazine or download the PDF