A Conversation with… Mark Gilman (part 1 of 2)

Please check out this wonderful conversation between Mark Gilman and Toby Seddon. I know Mark from my days working in the UK addiction recovery field. He’s one of my favourite people working in the field and we’ve got together a number of times during my visits back to the UK (and Manchester).  I knew that Mark had worked at Lifeline in Manchester and played a pivotal role in the emerging harm reduction approach. I did not know about his early research on heroin use.

This is an absolutely fascinating interview. Here is what Toby wrote about the conversation and comments from two of the field’s stalwarts.

‘The first of a two-part conversation with Mark Gilman. Mark has been a major figure in the field over four decades and directly involved in many of the most significant developments we have seen. In this part, we talk about Mark’s early life, his work with the late Geoff Pearson researching heroin use in the North of England, and his pioneering work with Lifeline in the 1980s and 1990s.’ Toby Seddon

‘Marvellous interview with the equally marvellous Mark Gilman. There are few people who have as deep and wide ranging knowledge of the growth, impact, and response to heroin use in the north of England than Mark. His voice, resonant with Manchester and the northern towns he knows so well, recounting the heroin problem that was powerfully captured in the writing of Geoff Pearson and colleagues. Look forward to the second instalment of an interview that reveals so much about where the UK heroin problem came from.’ Neil McKeganey

‘Great interview with Mark Gilman, taking us back to the 1980s and the origins of harm reduction, including the brilliant Smack In The Eye. It’s interesting that so many of the key figures in the pioneering harm reduction movement in North West England were from working class backgrounds and/or people who used drugs. Well, more inevitable than interesting.’ Russell Newcombe

I can strongly recommend you listen to this conversation, a key description of this particular history.

PS. The photo was taken at The Basement Project, Halifax, on 28th April, 2009.