Letters and Comment from DDN’s November Issue


DDN welcomes your letters. Please email the editor, claire@cjwellings.com, or post to DDN, CJ Wellings Ltd, 57 High Street, Ashford, Kent TN24 8SG. Letters may be edited for space or clarity.



Painful isolation

I was very pleased to see your piece on support (or lack thereof) for those of us struggling with addiction to prescription and over-the-counter drugs (DDN, October, page 10). People often refer to mental health – rightly, in my view – as a ‘Cinderella service’ but it seems to me the same could be said for support for people whose problems are with legal substances, despite the truly heroic efforts of people like David Grieve.

In my experience the problem is not only that GPs are happy to dish out repeat prescriptions for the sake of a quiet life, and that there’s little in the way of specialised support, it’s also the attitude you can face when attempting to access generic drug services or attending groups or meetings – the general feeling can often be that, as you didn’t buy your drugs from a dealer, your problems are somehow not nearly as serious or important.

More money for specialised support would obviously be very, very welcome, but it’s hard to see how that’s going to be a priority at the moment, and the BMA’s proposed national helpline would also be a useful first step. But until we can address this hierarchical attitude that exists in some places then I’m afraid we’ve still got a very, very long way to go.

Name and address supplied


Foul language

At the Conservative Party conference, a lesser reported fact is that Liz Truss, the new justice secretary (and Lord Chamberlain) referred to ‘junkies’ with the phrase ‘homes burgled to feed a junkie’s habit’.

I am furious that she would use such a derogatory term on a national platform, and depressed to see the lack of notice the press took of her comments. The most vulnerable people in our society have blame heaped on them for a range of complex social and emotional problems, which are very far from simple to understand, let alone resolve. To determine (extremely simplistically) that crime is down to ‘junkies’ flies in the face of even the government’s own evidence. The ‘modern crime prevention strategy’ illustrates clearly the significant falls there have been in shoplifting and burglaries – something which Ms Truss conveniently forgot, because it didn’t fit with the narrative of the day.

We all need to do more to tackle stigma, and calling out language like this is the very least we should all do.

Karen Tyrell, Addaction

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Social media

In response to DDN retweet from @BBCNews on ‘fix rooms’ plan set for approval


@DDNMagazine @BBCNews where is money coming from for this when basic drug services being cut?                                                @BOPjo_anne


@DDNMagazine @BBCNews great idea!       hopefully rest of country will catch up, let’s not let people die needlessly anymore                        @Jackinthos


Cardiff looked at DCRs as did Brighton… here’s hoping Glasgow takes it to the doing stage, recent HIV cluster highlights need                        @KFxNews


In response to ‘train your staff to empower service users with #naloxone’ (Oct, p20):


Wish we could. Still not available in my country     [NZ]       @julianbuchanan


In response to Pat Lamdin article (Oct, p16):


I had the pleasure of working with this guy – happy retirement Pat            @LauraWebbMktg


In response to ‘Punishing regime’ (Oct, page 8):


@WE_ARE_ANPUD @INPUD @DDNMagazine Well done here, I’m quite sure a short phone call from @POTUS would stop this murder                 @lovelifewhy


In response to ‘How I became a social worker’ (Oct, page 18)


Thanks DDN Magazine for the opportunity to discuss the topic of Social Work in Substance Misuse Services #socialwork #proud @AlcoholDrugServ



Just read October’s @DDNMagazine. As usual 101 thoughts running through my mind. Great read! Have a read yourself                         @RecoveryDundee