ADDICTION & MENTAL HEALTHCARE

I am a person in longterm recovery from addiction for over 31 years, my sobriety date 12th October, 1988 is one I intend to “one day at a time” maintain.

An integral aspect of recovery: service to at-risk people in the community is supported nationally within the UK.

The person best served to help another addict struggling with active addiction to engage them in a treatment programme are people like me who work in the voluntary sector.

Recently GOOGLE created “where to find” comprehensive addiction treatment services within the US – I have asked GOODLE to expand this service globally.

https://recovertogether.withgoogle.com

The #RecoveryMovement celebrates the 23 million Americans recovering from addiction, and paves the way for the 20 million still struggling to seek treatment. Our voices matter.

Connection. Community. Collaboration. At-risk people are not meant to be suffering in silence, alone.

Addiction is defined as repeating behaviours that have negative consequences, that reinforces disconnection from self, others, and the wider community. This felt sense of separation is experienced as abject loneliness, isolation and alienation.

When a person in an addiction and mental healthcare crisis is ready to seek help in stopping addictive behaviours…the benefits of engaging in a 24/7 recovery treatment programme that support all the stages of recovery from a psychosocial assessment that determines the entry point of a treatment plan, medically supervised detox, inpatient primary care, nutrition, and recovery counselling that is fully supported by a multidisciplinary addiction medicine team who work side by side with a lived experience volunteers.

My personal addiction recovery (31 years) and professional experience as a clinician remains focussed on effecting change, combatting stigma and promoting shared addiction and mental healthcare partnership and values.

Through the lens of recovery, different cultures and communities reveal the stages of recovery as a personal endeavour… the journey of lifetime… Though this lens there are many times of unprecedented challenges and polarisation.

CYCLE OF AWARENESS

Recovery community’s lived experience volunteers have the capability to deliver solutions that have the potency to build a better future for all who seek help in staying stopped, being authentic, autonomous, boundaries is actualising a continuum of self-care in the immediacy of daily life.

Implementing changes to healthcare policy through local and national community action, means progressive changes to healthcare policy can be achieved far quicker than ever before to respond to the addiction and mental healthcare crisis most pressing needs.

Upon reflection, having worked in the private sector for many years it is essential to recognise addiction and mental healthcare as a public health problem…ergo actively create something different – autonomous addiction and mental healthcare clinic that will not only help complement existing healthcare policy and efforts, but also advance the solutions addicts seeking help need most: 24/7 accessible addiction and mental healthcare.

30 years I had the privilege of volunteering at Marianne Willamson’s “MANHATTAN CENTRE FOR LIVING” founded upon the vision of creating a safe haven for people who were seeking help with living with a health crisis: AIDS and cancer.

In addition to helping people at MCL in need I helped coordinate an annual charity auction at Sothebys to raise funds and maintain Marianne’s high level of medical and therapeutic healthcare.

Marianne’s healthcare vision has evolved into one of universality. And champions the following policy changes:

1.Require our healthcare system to reimburse medical professionals for a broader array of lifestyle and nutrition support, focused on preventing disease and/or addressing root causes.
2.Longer visits with doctors and/or their support staff to better equip patients with skills necessary to make lifestyle changes.
3.Provide patients with more robust ongoing support from nutritionists, health coaches, therapists and mental health, exercise specialists, and other peripheral lifestyle treatment providers.
4.Integrate world-class technology and systems for better collaboration and cost-savings among healthcare providers.
5.Fund programs in all our educational systems, pre-k through college, designed to teach nutrition and lifestyle skills to help cultivate long-term health.
6. Restrict the marketing of overly-processed and sugary foods to our children.
7.Stop subsidies for agricultural production of unhealthy foods, like high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated fats, and incentivize and subsidize farmers, ranchers and food companies for more healthy food production, making it more affordable and available.
8. Shape food policies using cutting-edge public health science instead of following the lead of lobbyists for industries whose sole focus is profit.
9.Secure and expand the role of the EPA and the FDA to keep toxins out of our environment and food supplies.
10.Take a national look at stress levels, and develop ways to lower stress societally. That means adding vacation time, protecting a manageable work week, and taking a close look at how our electronic devices impact our lives. Just as the FDA is supposed to make recommendations about how we eat, the FDA should study, and make constructive recommendations, on how we consume data from our phones and devices.
11. We need to develop healthy habits at a community level. Towns and cities can, and should, look collectively at how active their populations are, and institute more ways to increase physical activity through walking paths, bike paths, and community events. The diet of entire cities should be reviewed, as well as ways that communities can contribute to one another’s daily health.
12. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau should investigate how hospitals overcharge patients, and the Justice Department antitrust division should explore ways to remove as much of the profit motive out of medicine as we can.
13.The Center for Disease Control should invest more research into preventing disease, rather than treating symptoms and look broadly at vulnerabilities in the system (like avoiding pandemics by encouraging healthy disease avoidance behaviors).
14.We also need to find non-pharmacological ways to treat mental health issues, and to take all mental health issues as seriously as physical issues, and reduce the stigma of mental health illnesses, so that more will seek and receive treatment.
15.We need to treat drug addiction as a mental health issue, and not as illegal activity. Only by de-criminalizing drugs can we break the back of cartels and drug dealers, while getting addicts into recovery.

This is how a mature debate begins on the issue of health care. As with most issues, the underlying problem is the corporate dominance of American governmental policies. With Marianne Williamson in the White House, Americans would be well aware that on a daily basis, their president is working to realign governmental policies with the health and well-being of the American people.

Meanwhile in Westminster, UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE strategies for changes in healthcare policy need to be actualised…”we are done talking” people like myself, clinicians in longterm recovery whose training treating addiction works…we know what to do…let us do what we do best..save lives…restore dignity, respect, purpose and most important of all wellbeing because it is basic human right to be able to access and receive healthcare.

Governments work for us, the people, not for health insurance companies or other corporate entities, whose short term profits may or may not align ultimately with the vision of community wellbeing.

We are experiencing a global health crisis, environmental crisis, that continues to impact the quality and length of our lives.

Healthcare policies changes that help prevent and reverse chronic illness, addiction and mental illness will cultivate optimal health, and engender people living healthier, longer and happier lives.

From drug policies, health policies, food policies, agricultural and environmental polices, to pharmaceutical policies the health and wellbeing of our humanity needs to be the greater concern of global governments, and not the profits ofcoprvate entities that are not held accountable for the toxicity their products produce.

Many will argue that we “cannot afford” universal healthcare” – when in fact the burden upon the A&E -NHS would be be dramatically reduced if autonomous addiction and mental healthcare A&E clinics were established within A&E -NHS settings where clinicians and lived experience volunteers work together side by side to treat people in a mental and or addiction healthcare crisis. The clinics would be 24/7 treatment hubs.

Addiction is not a criminal justice issue but a public health issue which requires specialist training and insight into the medical and biopsychosocial nature of the illness.

Let’s transform the way in people seeking help in an addiction and mental healthcare crisis access addiction healthcare. People have a right to be treated, not dismissed, and discharged.

However, due to cutbacks, long waiting times and lack of experienced in addiction trainings first responders, doctors, nurses and associated healthcare workers, people are being turned away instead of receiving treatment.

It is not good enough to say implementing addiction healthcare will cost millions, addiction and mental healthcare are already costing billions globally:
loss of income, loss of family, loss of life.

I am committed to ending prejudice, stigma, isolation and shame by personally striving for 24/7 within established A&E NHS Hospital settings, accessible inpatient and outpatient addiction public healthcare programmes to combat the opioid crisis, treat addiction and COD: the coexistence of both a mental health and a substance use disorder is referred to as co-occurring disorder.

ADDICTION HEALTHCARE RIGHTS & RECOVERY
Recovery-oriented care is prevention, intervention, medically assisted detox, inpatient and outpatient continuing support, and connecting with a recovery community. Recovery is a way of life, an attitude, and a way of approaching life’s challenges. The need is to meet the challenges of one’s life and find purpose within and beyond the limits of addiction while holding a positive sense of identity.

Since the inception of Alcoholics Anonymous in 1939, clinical and recovery evidence demonstrates that when people engage in primary care addiction treatment, they have better outcomes than those not retained in treatment. Providing a safe place in which at risk, vulnerable people can be given a choice to engage in treatment is addiction healthcare human right.

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 and recovery is about connection – lets engage vulnerable, isolated and disenfranchised, at risk people to a compassionate addiction healthcare care regimen.

Otherwise, without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and will often result in disability, or premature death.

And while the cost of addressing every facet of the addiction crisis is substantial, the cost of doing less than what is absolutely necessary is far more.

TOGETHER WE CAN: strengthen our nation’s addiction prevention and treatment infrastructure and expand access to evidence-based care is working in partnership with addiction trained clinicians to pursue bold, systemic solutions.

There is no time left for incremental policy changes – we need to come together as a UNITED KINGDOM to both implement and fund addiction healthcare programmes that will comprehensively combat untreated, complex, co-occurring chronic disease of addiction.

In January 2019 I initiated a partnership with the American Society Addiction Medicine to provide evidence based ASAM “Fundamentals in Addiction Trainings” and the ASAM Strategic Plan: a biopsychosocial evidence-based addiction healthcare treatment pathway that UK first responders, doctors, nurses need to be trained in to effectively treat addicted patients.

In addition to the ASAM “Fundamentals of Addiction Trainings” I am proposing implementing 24/7 Addiction Emergency Care Clinics within A&E-NHS settings an autonomous clinic and ward for primary care inpatient care facilitated by trained in the ASAM “Fundamentals of Addiction Medicine” clinicians, first responders, doctors, psychiatrists, nurses, pharmacists, and associated healthcare professionals to work alongside the Scottish Recovery Consortium lived experience – support volunteers, 24/7 in addiction and mental health primary care integrated treatment programmes.

In my 28-year, professional role, as an addiction clinician, and a person in long term recovery (31years) I continue to advance the recognition of mental health and freedom from addiction as being essential to overall health. Such recognition and focus will help to improve access to and integration of addiction healthcare services, to support and sustain positive outcomes, and address gaps and disparities in service delivery.

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 licit and illicit drugs.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine, founded in 1954, by Dr. Ruth Fox, a psychoanalyst who in 1959 became the first medical director of The National Council on Alcoholism, an agency devoted to alcoholism prevention is a professional medical society representing over 6,000 physicians, clinicians and associated professionals in the field of addiction medicine.

She was founder and first president of the American Medical Society on Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependencies in 1954 and wrote, lectured and taught extensively on the subject. She also maintained a private practice and was one of the first psychoanalysts willing to accept alcoholics as patients.

She was a fellow of several groups including the American Psychiatric Association, the New York Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Psychoanalysis, the American Health Association and the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis.

The ASAM is dedicated to increasing access and improving the quality of addiction treatment, educating physicians and the public, supporting research and prevention, and promoting the appropriate role of physicians in the care of patients with addiction.

The ASAM Patient Placement Criteria uses six dimensions to create a holistic biopsychosocial assessment of an individual to be used for treatment planning:

• Dimension one is acute intoxication or withdrawal potential.
• Dimension two is biomedical conditions and conditions.
• Dimension three is emotional, behavioural, or cognitive conditions or complications.
• Dimension four is readiness for change.
• Dimension five is continued use or continued problem potential.
• Dimension six is recovery/living environment.

The ASAM plan outlines ambitious research goals aimed at leading scientific and medical progression in the field with renewed and redesigned goals amass to form a robust foundation and profound course of action in the spirit of the organization’s mission.
In addition to the ASAM “Fundamentals of Addiction Trainings”

RIGHTS & RECOVERY
Recovery-oriented care is prevention, intervention, medically assisted detox, inpatient and outpatient continuing support, and connecting with a recovery community. Recovery is a way of life, an attitude, and a way of approaching life’s challenges. The need is to meet the challenges of one’s life and find purpose within and beyond the limits of addiction while holding a positive sense of identity.

In partnering with the ASAM the opportunity is in strengthening the focus on the full spectrum of addiction medicine, science, treatment and care:
prevention, treatment, remission, and recovery.

The continuing efficacy of the ASAM’s guiding principles will continue to set standards, pioneer research, educate professionals and the public, and challenge stigma. ASAM will always endeavour to enhance the goal of treating addiction and saving lives.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine’s evidence-based training and Strategic Plan:

The ASAM “Fundamentals of Addiction Training”
https://www.asam.org/education/live-online-cme/fundamentals-program