END STIGMA: Addiction healthcare is not a criminal justice issue…it is a human justice, public health and third sectors issue which requires holistic support, access to mental services, specialist trainings in addiction medicine, and public service education about the treatment of addiction.

The September 12th Scottish Parliament debate stresses an urgent health emergency is called for to action immediate changes.


STOP BUDGET CUTS: Driving forward investment in reform, policy changes, services and health services.


The right to health does not differentiate between mental and physical health. They are both central to human wellbeing. In reality, this is not often recognised.

Despite the significant social and economic burden of mental illness, provision for mental health often comes a very poor second to physical illness.

The need for specialised addiction medicine trainings and treatment directives in which addiction is treated concurrently with related physical health, mental health and social issues combines essential medical and psychopharmacology interventions uniquely tailored to each person’s needs.

New strategic opioid prescribing and tapering guidelines for specific pain needs can strengthen patient awareness of potential pain medication dependency/addiction in the longterm for short term pain medication.

Implementing Addiction Care Clinics within A&E-NHS settings where all healthcare professionals, doctors, nurses, first responders are trained in the fundamentals of addiction will saves lives.

It is time to include personal recovery into every aspect of the continuum including peer support, housing, and employment.

I am proposing a frontline lifesaving addiction healthcare services that tackle this health emergency crisis with the urgency and care it deserves.

Our aim is to provide comprehensive training for front-line medical staff, nurses, first responders and volunteers, in order that they can provide a compassionate and holistic response to drug or alcohol addicted adults who present themselves in crisis at Accident and Emergency Departments.

Mentally disordered individuals are often subject to multiple inequities, and to significant burdens of stigmatisation and marginalisation.

In the absence of resources, harsh restraint is used. Realising the right to health means refusing to discriminate against the mentally ill at all levels.

I believe in the efficacy of person-centred addiction healthcare and of a client’s right to safe prescribing, effective, inclusive and compassionate carewithout prejudice, fear of judgement or negative consequences.

Mental health issues and addiction are often inextricably intertwined. Some individuals begin their descent into addiction by trying to self-medicate untreated mental illness; others develop mental illness as a result of years of substance abuse. In either of these cases, successful long-term recovery hinges on addressing both of these issues in treatment.

Physical health can also be extremely damaged in multiple ways by long-term drug addiction. Effective drug addiction multidimensional assessment treatment programmes:

Addiction medicine trainings learning objectives offer interventions that are appropriate to specific substances and severity of usage pattern.

Respond to high risk alcoholic drinking with brief intervention strategies, appropriate to the patient’s willingness to engage in a medically assisted detox, inpatient continuum of care programme.

When appropriate conduct an assessment to provide a diagnosis and match the patient to an appropriate level of care.

The plan may include a variety of therapeutic modalities, lifestyle changes, health practices and medications depending on the client’s needs.

Recovery treatment plans are an affordable way to introduce this model through training experienced staff who are already working at the sharp end of the service with the support of peer-led trained volunteers who will also be based within these services.

I am a person in longterm recovery. I have 31 years of continuing abstinence from addictive substances and working in addiction and mental healthcare that began in in 1989 when I volunteered at the “Manhattan Centre For Living” co-founded by Marianne Williamson and Louise Hay. This experience of working side by side with holistic therapists prompted my trainings in addiction counselling and psychotherapy in America and England.

My work continues today in the capacity of Addiction recovery advocacy, educator, compassionate interventionist, counsellor, and clinician. I am an experienced group facilitator, former outpatient director, government advisor and broadcaster.

In addition to my role as the former Vice President to National Association Drug & Alcohol Counsellors (N.S.W) in Sydney, I advise the Australian Government advisory panel in harm reduction. .

I have worked in the private sector as the lead Primary Care Clinician in residential care settings in Melbourne, NYC, Pune, Delhi, Kent and London in England.

Prior to my recovery: former fashion magazine editor (Mode, Australia) art director, film and video producer (NYC, Tokyo, L.A. London, & Sydney.

I believe that by integrating the fundamentals of addiction training, providers as part of the dialogue with respect to the opioid epidemic can change the focus from a criminal justice perspective to a medical perspective.

Addiction medicine is a medical subspecialty, formally recognized since 1990, concerned with the prevention, evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and recovery of persons with the disease of addiction, of those with substance-related health conditions, and of people who show unhealthy use of substances, including nicotine, alcohol, prescription medications, and other licit and illicit drugs.

I am dedicated to the universal recovery vison of overcoming prejudice, and stigma, (which stopped me initially from getting help when I most needed it) by making accessible inpatient and outpatient addiction medicine treatment programmes.

Motivating people to engage in the multiple programmes available, i.e. 12step fellowships, SMART Recovery, means addiction recovery continues to evolve into being better organised and supported.

I have worked successfully in treating addiction as a chronic primary disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry dysfunction, and how this leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social, and spiritual manifestations.

Many people/patients have gone onto train in the field, augmenting their recovery assets by maintaining the momentum/continuing self care that defines personal recovery.

Let’s change the way in which people in need access addiction healthcare.

Addiction is characterized by an inability to consistently abstain or reduce substance use, impairment in behavioural control, craving, tolerance, and interference with interpersonal relationships, occupational responsibilities, recreational activities, and emotional response.

Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and will often result in disability or premature death.

At a record 867 drug deaths in 2016, and 247 deaths per million people, Scotland has the highest drug death rate in Europe: 12 times the EU average, 42 times Portugal’s rate, and 4 times the rate in England and Wales.

There is an HIV epidemic. Among Glasgow’s 500 street injecting population alone, there have been over 100 infections since 2015. In the 10 years prior to that, there were 10 infections per year in this group.
This is a financial time-bomb – lifetime treatment costs for someone with HIV are £360k.

Like many international cities, Glasgow has been ravaged by the opioid epidemic. Since 2000, annual overdose deaths involving opioids have increased tenfold, with a dramatic spike over the past few years driven by the spread of the highly lethal opioid fentanyl. In a recent survey, more than 1 in 4 Glaswegians reported knowing someone who had died from an opioid overdose.

The death toll is even more tragic in light of the many effective treatments for opioid use disorder that exist. Overdose-reversal drugs, naloxone and -approved medications for opioid use disorder — buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone — have all been shown to reduce overdose deaths.

Together we can actualise life saving services and dramatically reduce loss of life.

Posted on August 29, 2019 Edit