The November issue of DDN will be out on 4 November — make sure you send letters and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday 30 October to be included.
Keeping the lights on
The Green Party is often accused of idealism, with an unwillingness to tackle or confront the reality of a sustainable future while maintaining the demands of present energy consumption. Certainly environmental campaigners are often against fracking, nuclear power and – when in their own communities – wind farms, or in Wales, the suggestion of a barrage across the Severn. So you are left with a sense that by merely saying one is a Green supporter this in itself is enough, rather than explaining what difficult decisions are required to keep the lights on.
On the drugs debate, Kenneth Eckersley conveniently forgets that inserting the word ‘recovery’ into a drug strategy does not in itself change very much at all (DDN, September, page 10). Today I am told if I give a person a needle and syringe I should record that as the starting point for a person’s recovery journey rather than a harm reduction intervention. The action is the same but the words have changed.
The government strategy is condemned by its own think tank, The Centre for Social Justice, which admits that words have not altered the fact that we are the addictions capital of Europe. The accolade is deserved, as in reality policy has changed very little, with a belief that bullying people into recovery through the threats of the criminal justice system or reduction of benefits is the key. This approach was accelerated by the Blair government and continued by the present incumbents.
Caroline Lucas, he argues, has not looked at the new strategy and the marvellous results it promises. Eckersley is outraged that anyone would call for a change to the current policy that sees a greater number than ever imprisoned, replaced by an evidenced-based approach to dealing with addiction issues.
The offending statement from her party reads, ‘The Greens warmly welcome this cross-party call for a complete rethink of the UK’s drug policy, and the clear recognition of the need for an evidence-based approach to reducing drug-related harms.’
Like many others, she calls for a Royal Commission but I suspect those in the recovery movement are terrified by such an approach because of their own vested self interest in perpetuating the failing status quo.
Kenneth Eckersley says he is a Green practitioner. If he champions that cause, I worry that he does so not using any evidence and just goes with anecdotal examples, such as ‘we had a warm summer this year’.
Martin Blakebrough, CEO, Kaleidoscope Project
As a social worker in London’s East End for over 20 years I worked with many people who were harmed by alcohol. Since taking early retirement I have continued to work with alcoholics. People who went to prison have been in my home including a murderer.
Britain’s biggest drug problem is caused by alcohol. As someone who loves playing cricket at the age of almost 69, I have benefited in many ways from having consumed no alcohol since I was thirteen – and every week I have lots of fun.
A major national campaign should be launched to highlight the option – and many advantages – of healthy and safe alcohol-free lifestyles.
John D Beasley, London
After eight years free from any illegal substance, I have finally moved on by tackling the deep-rooted issues that have affected my life. I have attached a tree which Liz, my therapist, revamped to help me address some of these issues.
I have been fortunate to have funding and have applied for a further one year’s funding, but it is so sad that the government cannot invest more widely. I have saved my county a lot of money through my cost-effective therapy.
I nearly died, yet I am still here for others, with my three daughters my priority, and if I can handle anything else in life I will put 100 per cent into it. Although we are all addicts in one way or another, I have realised and explored my shame and guilt, mainly through your magazine, and would like to thank you for moving me on.
Sean Rendell, by email