In 1989, so little was known – far less in the public domain – about how to recover from addiction/dependencies, that it was decided to establish the Addiction Recovery Foundation for just such a purpose.
Its national and international guidance since has been evidence-based, leading-edge and proven – with an accuracy tuned by the skill sets of its majority staff and trustees who are professionals in long-term, sustainable recovery themselves. This ‘user contribution’ and depth of understanding make the organisation unique among those which work across the alcohol- and drug-treatment field in both the UK and mainland Europe.
After 18 years, ARFs information accuracy was most strongly validated in 2007, with the ‘Orange Book’ and Nice Psychosocial Guidelines recognising the research findings long promoted by the Foundation’s Addiction Today journal and its UK/European Symposia on best practices to help people and their families move from dire addictive straits to fulfilling lives.
The Foundation provides both professionals and the recovery community with free resources on how to recover. All of these are available at the newly-redesigned www.addictiontoday.org website. Resources include:
Directory of addiction-treatment units, for referral and general information purposes
List of self-help support groups, to strengthen your own work with addicted patients
Articles on methodologies/techniques, partnership work, latest legislation in consultation stage
Blogs for national and international exchange of professional expertise
Opportunities for partnership working, including job shadowing, via the Unity Group
Recovery Community section for people in recovery to support each other and gain cognitive tools
Campaign help – for example, to gain insurance parity for mental-health and addictive disorders, or to make your views known to the ACMD and wider world about the need to reclassify cannabis to a class-B drug.
Addiction Today Journal
This is the most widely-read, influential journal in the UK alcohol- and drug-treatment field. With a print run of at least 5,000-6,000 copies, reader surveys show there are an average of seven readers per copy, A surprising but crucial finding from reader surveys is that you readers retain your copies of Addiction Today for at least two years as a reference tool. Thank you for the recognition of our work!
However, vox pop surveys also show that the first person in a treatment organisation who sees Addiction Today usually swipes it for or him or herself – so this is a note to training managers to organise more of this vital training tool for staff.
Every five years or so, we redesign the journal, to keep it fresh. This year, we have chosen a mainstream look – I would not mind carrying this issue into Quaglino’s, for instance. We believe that an A-list design will reflect not only on the journal but on professionals in the field and their work, as well as our all-important clients in recovery, raising our healthcare out of stigma, towards acceptance as a public-health issue – and perhaps even appreciation of the field’s and our readers’ successes.
Networking and exchange of professional expertise
As well as website blogs, the Foundation hosts the UK and Europe’s most popular conference on how to recover from addiction/dependency – details are in the next paragraph. Specialist niche training for smaller professional groups has been requested, and is in the planning stage. If there is an urgent issue you would like addressed, or a ‘summit’ you consider should beheld, just let us know.
5th UK/European Symposium on Addictive Disorders
This three-day event regularly attracts about 500 attendees from 14+ countries. The next symposium will be 8-10 May this year. Speakers include: Professor Carlo DiClemente on Stages of Change... Baroness Massey of the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse... Asam/American Society of Addiction Medicine president Dr Michael Miller... Professor Alan Marlatt on Mindfulness therapy as relapse prevention... NTA researcher Dr David Best on Outcome predictors from people in long-term recovery... Dr John Marsden... Professor Peter Friedmann of Brown University on Mental-health and addiction settings working together... Associate Professor Seddon Savage, Dr Mark Pirtle and John Friel on Pain management for drug-free people... a day (separate certificate, from the popular PatrickDeChello) on Treating personality disorders... Standing Committee of European Doctors president Dr Michael Wilks... IC&RC president Jeff Wilbee... former US deputy drug czar Dr Andrea Barthwell and myself (!) on Linking traditional therapy to the 12 steps... and much more, including Pharmacological therapies in psychosocial settings. Discover early-bird discounts at www.ukesad.org
The above training awards ‘gold-standard’ IC&RC accreditation, recognised in 69 countries; attendees can be awarded up to 27 CEUs. The Ukesad Attendance Certificate is also recognised by a range of UK accrediting bodies.
Partnership Working: Uniity Group
The UK addictions service-delivery system has a breadth which is even wider than, say, the US. Harm-reduction and abstinence-based providers and personnel exist at a different point on the car ‘philosophical’ continuum and are too often perceived as being mutually exclusive, rather than options for different stages of a client’s journey. Thus, the Addiction recovery Foundation founded the Unity Group to convene a group of representatives of these varying points of view in order to reduce the acrimony which existed between and among providers. Over several years, and many meetings, the Unity Group facilitated conversations with these treatment professionals and organisational administrators, resulting in a level of understanding and cooperation that manifested itself in three major projects:
a “shadowing” project whereby members of the staff of providers on one end of the continuum work in collaboration with their colleagues from the other end, thus coming to understand and appreciate the value of these different approaches – the most successful have been workers from needle-exchanges visiting an abstinence-based residential centre and vice versa!
2-day conferences at which representatives from the various points on the continuum shared their approaches and practices with practitioners from other agencies
National Misuse & Addictions Week – details in next paragraph.
Misuse and Addictions Week?: ‘Open Days across the UK
Supported by the Home Office, the Unity Group organises a week in which treatment agencies hold an ‘open day’ or half day in the last week of June, consolidating the United Nations Drugs Day on 26 June.
Agencies from a variety of treatment approaches collaborate to invite the general public, colleagues and potential colleagues, referrers and potential referrers to see how they work. In 2007, events ranged from seminars in treatment centres to Dip football matches to Drug Action team-led ‘street parties’ or kiosks in shopping centres, consisting of ‘stalls’ representing treatment agencies techniques. To view some of 2007’s events and/or register for 2008, go to www.unitygroup.org.uk
Chair: Anthony Massouras
Company secretary: Tim Smith
Trustees: Dr Andrea Barthwell, Hon David Bernstein, Dr David Keating, Dr Mike McPhillips, Dr John Marsden, Kim Martin, Dave Mulvaney, Ric Ohrstrom, Johan Sorensen, Paul Sunderland
Patron: The Lord Mancroft
CEO: Deirdre Boyd. She is also editor of Addiction Today journal and cofounder/organiser of the UK/European Symposium on Addictive Disorders, author of Addictions: Your Questions Answered, printed in seven languages, and of mental≠health charity Mindís booklet Understanding Addiction/Dependency. She contributed to the Nice guidelines on Psychosocial Interventions, participated in the dti Office of Science & Technologyís Foresight project on Brain Science, Addiction & Drugs, is an observer at the All Party Parliamentary Drugs Misuse Group, and was a trustee of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics. In 2006, ICAA awarded her the Dr Vincent Bakeman Memorial Award for outstanding community service.