Problematic substance use rarely travels alone. The body of evidence keeps growing on the many strands that converge to make us lose direction, and we’re familiar with how drug and alcohol use can crash through Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
We also talk a lot about revolving doors – to prison, debt, homelessness and a state of disconnection. So it’s heartening to hear that senior representatives from many health and social care sectors will be coming together to discuss joint action on complex needs (page 8). This follows a call for evidence from the Office for Civil Society – and a detailed questionnaire that keeps substance misuse problems at the heart of a shared agenda. How long have we needed to hear that drug and alcohol problems are not the ‘add-on’ but symbiotic with mental health problems and all number of signs of personal breakdown?
As a clear case study we focus on veterans this month, through talking to the charity Combat Stress (page 6). It’s hard to imagine the level of PTSD that drives many of those leaving the armed forces to self-medicate, but encouraging to hear that with the right dedicated support they can do ‘very, very well’.
And as the summer rolls on, so does the schedule of festivals that bring many young people face to face with the irresistible opportunity to experiment. Kevin Flemen’s article (page 14) should help to provide accurate advice, grounded in harm reduction.
We’re doing a combined July/August issue for the holiday period, but will be online, on Facebook and tweeting through the summer – and please keep emailing your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!
Claire Brown, editor