Health Emergency

We are experiencing a global health crisis. The number of opioid overdoses is increasing on a daily basis. People in need of addiction healthcare are being denied treatment because they lack funding.

Recently in Edinburgh Railway Station, we came across a man who’s suffering was palpable, without a home, friends, visible means of support ground down by a life of abject poverty, partially collapsed against the railing, disenfranchised from society, in utter despair. His ravaged face remains etched in my memory of that moment in time…he is one of many homeless people, who on a daily basis fade into the background, ignored and isolated from basic human rights to healthcare, compassion and community.

We stopped to give him money and spent a few minutes in silence, compassionately praying for his safety. As we walked away with heavy hearts it was easier to remain silent than to talk about feeling powerless to help him beyond the offer of money…

I know what it is like to have nothing, addiction took everything from me…the priceless love and respect of my family and friends…my home, job, and by the grace of god I did not die despite wishing I could…I was once I committed to living sober, rebuild a life in recovery.

I am beyond grateful that the obsession to drink and drug was lifted 30 years ago. Freedom from the bondage of self obsession. My life today is one of hope, love and happiness. The past has no power over me..The present unfolds with grace and effort…

I have my recovery tribe to thank for helping me stay sober, and the hundreds of hours I have sat in the chair, at a 12step recovery meeting, sharing my experience, strength and hope…with people who loved me until I could love myself….people who tell me the truth, have my back and never let me forget to keep coming back…

From the early days of being sober, to today it is my responsibility to do service within my recovery community…whether it is simply reaching out to a newcomer at a meeting, speaking at a conference about healing trauma, stabilising addiction recovery is what I do with an un-tired spirit… to carry the message of help, hope and recovery.

Every day is a new beginning…And I feel blessed to have the support of colleague and friend, clinician Mike Delaney. We decided last year that enough was enough ….that it was time to commit to changing the way people in an addiction crisis access help…

So…we are partnering with the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and a multinational pharmaceutical company to create “Addiction Emergency Clinics within the A&H- NHS hospitals.

The ASAM has devised a sustainable “Fundamentals of Addiction Medicine” training programme that supports doctors, nurses, healthcare workers and counsellors in the US and we want to bring this training into the public health sectors, within the UK and Europe.

Time takes time….and we are very patient…the task at hand is to convince Scottish Health Ministers to support universal addiction healthcare…and a significant change in how healthcare is accessed is near…soo it will be a green light and we, along with volunteers from the recovery community form alliances with doctors, nurses, healthcare workers to open 24/7 addiction emergency clinics starting in Glasgow and Edinburgh…to help people regain their lives free from the hell on earth that is active addiction.

Mike and I are working a living legacy programme that will provide healthcare to addicts in need…medically supervised detox, primary inpatient care from trained in addiction healthcare doctors, nurses and therapists…then when it is time to go to the next level of recovery ongoing sustainable support from the wider recovery community to ensure safety, help and hope continues between recovery meetings…

Compassionate universal addiction healthcare is percolating away in our minds and hearts. Soon we will let you know where to go to get help for yourself and or someone you know is suffering…..

Meanwhile have hope, and know you are not alone.