Learning From the Experts, Part 2

This post continues the research relating to client views on treatment and recovery that Gemma Salter, Sarah Davies and I conducted at BAC O’Connor treatment service back in 2004.

A further factor reported to be influential in producing positive effects was the adoption of a holistic approach, whereby the ‘whole package’ of the person was addressed in treatment, and not simply the substance use problem. The range of targets included behaviours, coping methods, physical and psychological emotional problems, practical problems, social and relationship difficulties, and self-awareness.

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Learning From the Experts, Part 1

Well, I’m back in the ‘office’ after my long overdue break. It was great to have a serious ‘time-out’ and also sit back and enjoy the Olympic Games. They were awesome and many performances stunning. What stood out most was the camaraderie between the athletes.

Anyway, here is today’s blog which focuses on a piece of research we conducted years ago, research of which I am particularly proud. Gemma Salter, who conducted the main analysis I describe, was one of my star undergraduate project students in the Department of Psychology, Swansea University. She had gained an outstanding First Class Honours Degree and won the prize for the best project of the year for an earlier piece of research she conducted on the impact of substance use problems on family members

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Learning About Addiction Treatment, Part 9

In my fourth blog post focusing on what I learnt from the treatment agency BAC O’Connor back in 2004, I focus on treatment outcomes and two short client cases. The first blog in this series can be found here.

In the year prior to our visit, 231 clients accessed the BAC day care programme. A total of 87% of these clients had been involved with the criminal justice system; many, possibly most, were prolific offenders. 90% of the clients were unemployed, whilst 28% were officially classed as homeless. However, the latter percentage was realistically 67%, since 14% were due to be evicted for arrears or ASB (Anti-Social Behaviour), while 25% were staying with friends or relatives on a temporary basis and did not have a permanent home.

Of these 231 clients, two-thirds completed the programme drug-free. This was a very successful outcome, given the ‘challenging’ nature of the clients entering the programme. 52% of the clients attended aftercare on a regular basis. BAC was not in a position to track long-term outcomes at the time of our visit, but they were trying to set up a project to do so.

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Learning About Addiction Treatment, Part 8

In my third blog post focusing on what I learnt from the treatment agency BAC O’Connor back in 2004, I focus on two themes. Firstly, how staff deal with people who relapse during the treatment programme. Secondly, how the agency works with ‘clients’ to help them integrate (back) into their community.

BAC O’Connor were more realistic about relapse than many other treatment agencies. Relapse was considered part-and-parcel of the recovery process, and was an issue that was addressed in a pragmatic and humanistic manner. Clients who continually relapsed and left the Centres were always given the opportunity to return and receive the help they needed. Noreen Oliver said to me:

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Learning About Addiction Treatment, Part 7

I continue my story about what I learnt about addiction recovery and treatment from Noreen Oliver, and her staff and clients, during my visits to the structured day care programme at BAC O’Connor back in 2004. (See here for my first blog post relating to these visits).

The majority of the clients at BAC O’Connor had severe and chaotic drug and/or alcohol use, a variety of other problems, including being homeless, and a strong engagement in criminal activities. Many referrals came from criminal justice services. The supported housing programme allowed BAC O’Connor to house and rehabilitate this particularly vulnerable population of clients.

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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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My Favourite Blogs: The Story of Noreen Oliver – What you can do with Recovery

‘It’s almost ten years ago that I conducted an evaluation of the BAC O’Connor for Noreen Oliver. My visits to Noreen’s treatment centre were a real eye-opener! Here was a genuine recovery community, a place where recovery oozed out of the walls.

I couldn’t tell who was there to help and who needed help! It was a special experience and I learnt so much from those early visits. Most importantly, I learnt the power of community and belonging, of love and acceptance, of role models and peer support.

Over the years, I’ve watched as Noreen has continued to build BAC O’Connor and facilitate related activities (RIOT, Langan’s Tea Rooms and RIOT Radio). We meet periodically when I am back in UK and it’s always great to catch up.

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RIOT – Recovery Is Out There

David McCollom has been making some good films about recovery and recovery-related organisations. Here is  one about RIOT, which you can find in our Film Section.

Three people talk about their recovery and introduce RIOT, an award-winning group of recoverees who attended the BAC O’Connor centre. Recovery Is Out There, right!

And you might want to check out RIOT Radio and the short news clip of its opening.

The Launch of RIOT Radio

Read a Facebook entry and checked out this film.  My comment on YouTube was: ‘Brilliant! You guys and girls are just VERY special and an example to everyone.’

The Story of Noreen Oliver: What you can do with Recovery

It’s almost ten years ago that I conducted an evaluation of the BAC O’Connor for Noreen Oliver. My visits to Noreen’s treatment centre were a real eye-opener! Here was a genuine recovery community, a place where recovery oozed out of the walls.

I couldn’t tell who was there to help and who needed help! It was a special experience and I learnt so much from those early visits. Most importantly, I learnt the power of community and belonging, of love and acceptance, of role models and peer support.

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