‘Addiction treatment mismatch: when what’s on offer isn’t always what’s wanted’ by David McCartney

Another really except blog post on Recovery Review by Dr. David McCartney, this one focused on what people want from addiction treatment.

“I never knew that rehab was available to guys like me”, he said to me just before he completed his rehab programme. He’d been in and out of `treatment for many years before he got to rehab. “Why did nobody tell me?” I was left struggling for an answer.

This is one of the things that still upsets me in my work with patients. It is still happening – even in my area where there are clearly established pathways to rehab with no funding barriers to navigate.

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Reflections on the Lessons of History: Bill White

Slaying the Dragon: The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in America by William L. White isn’t just a fascinating and enjoyable read, it has also taught me so much. Bill White’s book, his other writings, and our meeting in the UK in 2009, have been so inspirational for me.

I’m currently trying to write a book about addiction recovery, which includes details of my own journey (experiences, thoughts and emotions) as I learnt about the field and tried to develop an initiative (Wired In) which I hoped would help individuals, families and communities. Writing the book is quite a challenge and I have done a good deal of reflecting, a fair amount of writing, and lots of correcting!

Today, I pulled Slaying the Dragon off one of my bookshelves to read the last parts. I knew they would help inspire me and provide the fuel for more reflections on the structure of my book. It also made me realise that I needed to post the last sections of Bill’s book in a blog because they are so important for all of us working in this field. I hope they help you in your work and in reflecting on what you do. I can strongly recommend purchasing Bill’s amazing book.

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A Conversation with… Mark Gilman (Part 2 of 2)

The second of a two-part conversation that Toby Seddon had with Mark Gilman. ‘In this part, we pick up the story in 1999, when Mark moved from Lifeline to the Home Office. The conversation ranges widely, covering treatment, recovery, social justice and crime, reflecting the unique breadth of Mark’s contributions to the field.’

In this conversation, Mark talks about the time he was a regional manager for the National Treatment Agency (NTA).

‘There was actually some public opinion research done in the NTA which reiterated the idea that the primary beneficiary of many of the interventions was not individual people with drug problems themselves, with substance use disorder themselves, but the wider community.

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Learning About Addiction Treatment, Part 6

I earlier began a series of blog posts (starting here) describing what I learnt about addiction, addiction recovery and addiction treatment after I had closed down my neuroscience laboratory in the early 2000s. I started visiting a local treatment agency, local treatment agency West Glamorgan Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (WGCADA), in Swansea, South Wales. At the same time, I was conducting an evaluation of projects supported by the Drug and Alcohol Treatment Fund in Wales.

I continue this series of blog posts by describing what happened, and what I learnt, after I first visited the treatment agency BAC O’Connor in 2004. Here is the start of a new story, one where I saw recovery literally oozing out of the walls of a building.

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Bill White’s Norman E. Zinberg Memorial Lecture, 2012

Researcher, historian, practitioner and recovery advocate William (Bill) L White has been the most prolific writer in the addiction recovery field. Bill’s fascinating book Slaying the Dragon: The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in America is a classic. You can see the Table of Contents here.

As many can testify, Bill is an amazing public speaker. Here is the Norman E. Zinberg Memorial Lecture, Experiencing Recovery, he gave at the Harvard Addiction Conference in 2012. Bill’s lecture is on YouTube, divided into ten parts:

Part 1: Early History of Recovery in the U.S.

Bill describes just how far back recovery goes historically in the US—to Native American Indians in the 1730s! (13’36”)

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‘A Day With Dave’ by Annalie Clark

In my last post, I talked about Dave Watkins and his past role at the treatment agency West Glamorgan Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (WGCADA) in Swansea. Here’s an article that my oldest daughter Annalie wrote in 2005, after spending a day with Dave Watkins. Annalie had just finished her first year of medical training at the University of Edinburgh. She is now a psychiatrist.

What is striking about this article is that Dave’s role resembles what I envisage a recovery support worker (or recovery coach) would be doing today. Annalie highlights Dave’s extensive contacts within, and knowledge of, the local community, which helps the lives of the people with whom he works. In the video below, you can see one of the magic tricks that Dave used to engage the people with whom he was working.

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Learning About Addiction Treatment, Part 1

In my last blog posts, I described how after nearly 25 years as a neuroscientist I decided to close my research laboratory in the Department of Psychology at Swansea University at the start of the new millennium. I wanted to learn more about the nature of addiction and how people overcame their substance use problem.

I spent a good deal of time at a treatment agency in Swansea, talking with both practitioners and people who attended the agency for help with their problem. In addition, I was travelling around Wales visiting treatment agencies, in my capacity as lead on a two-year national evaluation of projects supported by the Drug and Alcohol Treatment Fund. This fund was created by the National Assembly for Wales, or Senedd Cymru (Welsh Parliament) as it is now known.

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