Letters and comment, June 2016

Lethal label

Difficult though the challenge of the emergence of new substances is proving, and whether or not you agree with the recent legislation, I feel that an opportunity has been missed to rename these substances.

They should perhaps be known as potential lethal substances (PLS) – certainly not the very misleading legal high/new psychoactive substance nonsense that they are currently referred to by professionals who frankly should know better.

From the current user to the young, naïve future user of these substances, using worlds such as legal, high, new and psychoactive is no deterrent – on the contrary it can be appealing. However, potential lethal substance is unequivocal; take it and you may die.

As the new legislation proves, there are so many (an infinite amount of) chemical combinations that classification is impossible, likewise enforcement.

Would you drink bleach? No. If consumed it is simply a potential lethal substance (PLS). No classification necessary. Let’s start now – PLS – trips off the tongue doesn’t it?

Do DDN and the many associated agencies and contributors fancy leading the way? It will soon catch on, in so doing giving the honest description that the substances deserve.

Pete Young, Andover, Hampshire

Cutting corners

Against the background of shrinking availability of residential rehabilitation services, it is an unfortunate but true condemnation of the UK addiction recovery sector that the eminent Professor Neil McKeganey found it necessary to point out the mainly unqualified status of a majority of workers (and some execs) in this vital field. And his observations are mainly backed up by the other contributors in your excellent article, ‘False Economies’ (DDN, May, page 10).

The real problems are of course the differences of opinion on what constitutes ‘professional qualifications’ and ‘specialist knowledge’, along with the government’s ever-increasing desire to see every service delivered as cheaply as possible.

Kenneth Eckersley, CEO, Addiction Recovery Training Services (ARTS)

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