Stopping heroin use without treatment

Research by Patrick Biernacki reveals important insights into how people recover from heroin addiction. It also illustrates the major challenges that people with a heroin addiction face on their journey to recovery (2,200 words). 

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Active ingredients within the processes of successful addiction treatment and recovery

IMG_3699“For nearly five decades, Rudy Moos, PhD, has been one of the giants of modern addiction research. I believe he has, more than any other research scientist, focused on questions of the greatest import to addiction counselors and the individuals and families they serve. His published studies have dramatically expanded our knowledge of addiction treatment and the processes of long-term addiction recovery.” William L White

That is one hell of an introduction to Rudolf Moos, in my humble opinion one of the great addiction researchers of our time. Bill White’s comments come at the beginning of a very interesting interview he conducted with Rudolf in 2011.

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‘Building the science of recovery – what I have learned goes far beyond our studies (Part 2)’ by Alexandre Laudet

IMG_2882In my previous blog, I summarized a few highlights of the research on recovery I have conducted with my collaborators. Our ultimate goal is to give a voice to people in recovery to inform policy and service development. However, I would be remiss in not mentioning what I have personally learned from people in recovery because it’s probably the most meaningful aspect of this endeavor for me.

Not surprisingly given my line of work, I have encountered numerous people in recovery. Today, most of my friends and some of my colleagues are individuals in recovery – the latter too often undercover for fear it would bias how their science is received… (a sad commentary on our field and how society regards this disease…)

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Research shows the dynamic spread of happiness in a large social network

2007_0116walpole0146Here’s one of my own blogs from WITR, written in January 2009, not long after the launch of the website.

‘Last week, the British Medical Journal published a very interesting article on the Dynamic spread of happiness in a large social network. This high quality research involved a longitudinal analysis over 20 years of participants in a long-term health study in America (the Framingham Heart Study, see at end of Blog for further details].

The research involved 12,067 individuals who were connected to someone else in this population at some point between 1971 and 2003. Researchers measured happiness by a questionnaire and conducted a complicated statistical analysis of the relationships between people in this large social network.

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‘Life in Recovery’ – Research by Alexandre Laudet and FAVOR

2007_0116walpole0025Alexandre Laudet is one of the world’s leading recovery researchers. During the past year, she has been conducting – in collaboration with Faces & Voices of Recovery (FAVOR) in America – the first nationwide survey of people in recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs.

Here is what Alexandre and FAVOR set out to do, as described in their report:

‘“Recovery” from addiction to alcohol and other drugs is a human experience as old as the human race itself. However, it was not until the past decade that federal agencies, policy makers, service providers, and clinicians have begun considering recovery as a desirable outcome that is gradually supplanting mere reductions in drug and alcohol use as the goal of addiction treatment services.

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Impact of substance use problems on the family

P1010665This piece of writing, which you can find in the Articles section, was based on a piece of research we conducted ten years ago. Hard to believe!

‘In November 2004, I wrote an article, entitled ‘Family Misfortune’, for the magazine Drink and Drugs News in the UK, that focused on the impact that substance use problems can have on the family. The article was based on a piece of research that Gemma Salter and I conducted with family members (primarily mothers) of people who were experiencing substance use problems.

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Overcoming Addiction, Professor Tackles Perils American Indians Face

P1010935Here’s an inspirational Story from the New York Times (May 11th). I spotted it thanks to Alexandre Laudet’s Facebook page.

‘The visitor to Haskell Indian Nations University detailed his roaring 20s: drug addict, garbage collector, suicidal burnout once told by a doctor that he was mentally retarded. It was a curious way to inspire a group of young American Indian students long surrounded by these types of problems. Until he got to the good part. “I never shared this with anyone until I got my Ph.D.,” he said.

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Learning from Wired In To Recovery

2007_0118walpole0115Wired In To Recovery (WITR) ran for over four years between 2008 and 2012, attracting over 4,000 community members. A key element of this online recovery community was blogging, providing the opportunity for people from all walks of life to describe their experiences and express this views. The site comprised over 7,500 blogs (from 1,000 bloggers) and 35,000 comments.  

When I was developing WITR, I rationalised that by providing people with the opportunity for people to blog, I would accumulate a wealth of information about the lived experience of addiction and recovery, the needs of recovering people, personal views about the care system, etc.

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Treatment and Recovery disconnection

William White describes how somewhere in the process of the professionalisation of addiction treatment in the US, treatment got disconnected from the larger more enduring process of long-term recovery.

He points out that we are recycling large numbers of people through repeated episodes of treatment. Their problems are so severe and recovery capital so low, there is little hope that brief episodes of treatment will be successful. We end up blaming them for failing to overcome their problems.

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