The next issue of DDN will be out on 10 February — make sure you send letters and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday 5 February to be included.
We are writing in response to the letter from Stephen Keane in your last issue regarding alcohol treatment in the East Riding (DDN, December 2013, page 16).
The NHS does not refer patients into the Alcohol Support Project East Yorkshire, though patients are at liberty to contact this organisation if they wish, as they could any other voluntary group. It is not the case that ‘there are no other support groups in most of East Yorkshire’. Apart from a large number of active groups run by Alcoholics Anonymous, the East Riding supports Humbercare, a locally contracted charity that provides support to service users, and provides mentoring training and opportunities to support drop-in services in the East Riding. Humbercare actively promotes and supports two groups that are open to clients with any form of addiction.
We would also take issue with the claim that a person referred to the alcohol aftercare service was told ‘They can’t take anyone else on for a few weeks.’ People who are referred to the alcohol aftercare service are always written to directly. In instances where there is a wait for a specific element of the service, support is always offered. Typically people are offered such support through the East Riding Direct Access Service, which is available at a wide variety of venues throughout the East Riding. Finally the reasons for Mr Keane being asked not to attend the treatment forum have been fully explained to him in writing, though he is, of course, at liberty not to agree with them.
Tony Margetts, substance misuse manager, East Riding of Yorkshire; David Reade, involvement team leader, Humbercare; Victoria Coy, service manager addictions, Humber NHS Foundation Trust; Tim Young, chief executive, Alcohol and Drug Service
Route to recovery
I read DIP practitioner Jesse Fayle’s letter with interest (DDN, December 2013, page 16), but was disappointed to discover apparent support for the idea that ‘recovery’ has numerous meanings, instead of recognising that recovery from addiction falls into two main phases, the first of which is essential to achieving the second.
Dictionaries define recovery as ‘a return to a previous preferred superior state or standing’, and in respect of recovery from substance addiction this emerges as a return to the natural state of abstinence.
We then find other recovery steps resting on this foundation, which have together been perceived as ‘the recovery journey’ to what the majority of citizen’s consider a ‘normal life’ – recovery of responsibility, recovery from criminality and poor health, recovery of employment potential, of normal social relationships and of wellbeing and control of one’s life, etc.
There are also two classes of addicts – the 70 to 75 per cent who have regularly tried to kick their habit (often daily) yet, having failed, continue to try, and the other 25 to 30 per cent of restive cases who have no desire or intention whatsoever to quit for well-known reasons.
Those vested interests who wish to see the prescribing of addictive substances continue as the main treatment for drug addiction have, for their own reasons, placed emphasis on the recovery journey and on the 25 to 30 per cent of resistive cases, instead of on the return to lasting relaxed abstinence and the 70 to 75 per cent of addicts who want to quit their dependency but don’t know how and so need the opportunity to learn.
Resistive cases ‘who just don’t get it when it comes to embracing recovery’ may well be contenders for OST or naloxone, but the other 70 to 75 per cent have been proving for 48 years that they are enthusiastic and successful students when it comes to training to cure themselves and to achieving lasting abstinence.
Furthermore, such training results cost our taxpayers a fraction of what they pay for OST.
Kenneth Eckersley, CEO, Addiction Recovery Training Services (ARTS)