Local news from the substance misuse field

Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 14.28.43Live LSD drug trials take place

Research has taken place that saw the world’s first live brain scans of individuals taking LSD.

A group of scientists, including Dr Ben Sessa, consultant psychiatrist at Addaction, took LSD while their colleagues scanned their brains in an effort to learn more about how consciousness works on the brain.

Dr Sessa will be doing similar trials with MDMA next year, to see how the drug affects individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder.

‘This work is not about encouraging the recreational use of the drugs, but how they can be developed as tools and treatments for medicine. Every drug has side effects, including painkillers, which is why they should only be taken with guidance and support from a doctor,’ said Dr Sessa.

‘The results from the experiments are showing that if you carry out psychotherapy under the influence of psychedelic drugs, it can boost the power of the therapy. Abstinence rates for alcohol and opiates are significantly higher from this kind of therapy, so I believe it is vitally important to keep progressing this research.’

A video of the trial can be found at http://walacea.com/campaigns/lsd/


Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 14.28.49Photographer documents homeless

A local photographer has published a book that documents the lives of homeless individuals in Cardiff.

Andrew McNeill spent a year engaging with people on the streets in his hometown, many of whom struggled with mental health and substance misuse problems (DDN, May 2014, p8).

‘I think there are several messages in these pictures. I think there’s a message of hope. I think there are cries for help, and despair. And there is a message that they don’t want to be ignored – that they’re real people, they’re real human beings,’ says McNeill.

Under The Bridge: Being Homeless in Cardiff is McNeill’s second photography book, and is published by Butetown History and Arts Centre.


Film raises awareness of psychosis

A new film that aims to raise awareness of psychosis in young people has had its premier at an educational event in Manchester.

Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust collaborated with a local filmmaker to create a film that gave service users from their early inter­vention service the opportunity to share their experiences. It will be shown at local schools and colleges to demonstrate the importance of early intervention, and aims to reduce the stigma surrounding psychosis.

The film will also be used as part of psychological therapy sessions and family interventions to help individuals and their families understand psychosis.

Available on the GMW YouTube channel, http://bit.ly/1EY8V5V


Bike ride to raise funds for recovery

A fund raising bike ride, Le Tour De Recovery, will be setting off from The Recovery Partnership in Leamington Spa on 7 September, and aiming to arrive in Durham on 12 September, the day of the seventh annual Recovery Walk.

The team from Coventry Recovery Community also hope to stage Dear Albert screenings at every overnight stop.

They are currently seeking sponsors, and are inviting riders from services and communities along their route to join them.



Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 14.29.01Project promotes ‘natural highs’

Young people in Weston have had the opportunity to try power kiting as part of Addaction’s 18225 project.

One of the project’s aims is to show young people ways to engage in ‘natural highs’, without the need to use drugs or alcohol.

Project leaders have been working with Weston Foyer, which provides accommo­dation and support for young homeless or vulnerable young people, to engage with individuals aged between 18 and 25 and offer them more information about drugs and alcohol, in particular legal highs.


Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 14.29.12Service users help build exhibit

Service users from Bristol Drugs Project’s (BDP) training, education, volunteering and employment service have helped create a new Bristol art installation aimed at raising awareness of energy issues.

The Energy Tree was designed and built by artist John Packer, and workshops on building solar panels for BDP volunteers were led by Demand Energy Equality.

‘The opportunity for people in Bristol with a history of problematic drug or alcohol use – one of the city’s most marginalised and stigmatised populations – to build the Energy Tree in the city’s green capital year helps to support their recovery,’ said Maggie Telfer, CEO of BDP.

The installation is a renewable power source that will offer a number of interactive functions to the public, such as WiFi and phone charging.