Revisiting Old Memories, Part 3: WIRED

In a previous blog post in this series, I described how Claire Brown of Drink and Drugs News (DDN) commissioned me to write articles for the magazine that she and Ian Ralph had launched. Here is an article I wrote on WIRED (later called Wired In) that was published in that very first issue of DDN (1 November, 2004). WIRED was the grassroots initiative that I developed back in 1999.

‘Up close: WIRED

WIRED is becoming valued as a unique grassroots initiative to tackle drug and alcohol misuse that merges real world activities with a high profile web based communication system. We asked its creator, Professor David Clark, how WIRED developed.

The concept of WIRED was developed five years ago as a way of empowering people to tackle substance misuse. I felt that the internet was not being used innovatively to help the field. Its potential for supporting an integrated resource of information, support, education, training and research, as well as bringing together expertise from both within and outside the field, needed to be realised.

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Visiting UK Recovery Friends: Part 4 (Ash Whitney)

After leaving Wynford Ellis Owen and his lovely wife Meira in Creigiau (South Wales), I headed to Cilfrew, located close to Neath, to visit my great friend Ash Whitney, of Wired Up Wales, and his parents. Ash and I have worked together on-and-off for over 20 years now, starting not long after I launched WIRED (Web-based Information REsource on Drugs), which later became known as Wired In.

At the beginning of the new millennium, I received a small level of funding from the Welsh Development Agency, which at the time was the economic development agency for Wales, to develop and maintain an online resource that would help people in Wales better understand the nature of drug and alcohol use problems and how they could be overcome. Use of illegal drugs, in particular heroin, and excessive drinking were major problems in parts of Wales, particularly in areas suffering economic and social problems such as in the Welsh valleys. These problems had increased as coal mines in the valleys closed. 

A technician in my university department, Neil Carter, suggested I approach a web-developer friend of his, Ash Whitney, to see if he would build me a website.

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Ash Whitney and Wired In Websites

This blog post continues the story of my ‘change in career’ early in the new millennium, from neuroscientist working in my research laboratory in a university, to addiction recovery advocate working in the community in Swansea and beyond.

When I first developed Wired In, a primary aim of our grassroots initiative was to provide information and tools that help people better understand and use the options they have to overcome the problems caused by their own, or a loved one’s, substance use. I also wanted to help ensure that practitioners working in the addiction field, be they specialists or generalists, had access to high quality information about addiction to drugs and alcohol and how it could be overcome.

I wanted to develop a strong Wired In presence on the internet. My aim was realised once I met web designer Ash Whitney in 2000. Ash, who lives in Cilfrew, near Neath in South Wales, built the first Wired In website. Daily Dose was a news and information portal that focused on drug and alcohol problems.

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Michael’s 43rd (Sober) Anniversary

My good friend Michael (Mike) Scott last had a drink 43 years (15,695 days) ago today. Tonight, we will celebrate his 43rd Sober Birthday. This morning, I’m going to celebrate his achievement with a blog post focused on some of Mike’s experiences and reflections.

Mike first contacted me about our Daily Dose website back in 2002. He loved our drug and alcohol news portal that I had launched with Ash Whitney early in 2001. Mike met Ash for the first time (on Skype) a few weeks ago and the pair were mutually pleased to have their first chat.

I gave Mike a big shock when I called him one day back in 2009 and suggested that we have lunch together. He replied, ‘How can we do that? You live on the opposite side of the world.’ I told him that I had moved to Perth on Christmas Day 2008.

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