Universal Addiction Healthcare is a global healthcare initiative that provides accessible treatment options for vulnerable drug users who are choosing to engage in recovery treatment programmes.
We are proposing opening Acute Care Clinics within UK A&E settings where clinicians and volunteers work side by side to treat drug users.
In March 2018, the Drug Policy Alliance led a delegation of 70 U.S. advocates to Portugal to learn from its health and human-centred approach to drug use.
The trip provided an opportunity for drug policy reform advocates to appreciate how effective a dramatically different approach to drugs can be.
Read the briefing paper about the Portugal visit and the link to:
Drug Decriminalization in Portugal: Learning from a Health and Human-Centered Approach
Universal Addiction Healthcare was created in response to the consistently increasing number of drug and alcohol related deaths in the UK but particularly in Scotland.
The aim is to provide comprehensive training for front-line medical staff, nurses, first responders and lived experience volunteers, in order that they can provide a compassionate and holistic response to addicted individuals who present themselves in crisis at Accident and Emergency Departments.
Addiction is not a criminal justice issue but a public health issue which requires specialist training and insight into the medical and psychosocial nature of the illness.
I believe in the benefits of accessible and available addiction healthcare and of an individual’s right to expect effective, inclusive and compassionate treatment from NHS Services without fear of judgement or negative consequences
I am an addiction clinician and therapist, with 27 years of addiction healthcare treatment programmes experience, and 30 years lived experience to support fulfilling my professional and personal recovery obligation to provide addiction and mental healthcare to individuals and families in need of help.
In January 2019 I initiated a partnership with the American Society Addiction Medicine to provide evidence-based/fundamentals in addiction trainings and resources to augment healthcare providers in Scotland of the skills and knowledge they need to treat addicted patients.
I am proposing implementing 24/7 addiction emergency treatment clinics within A&E-NHS settings. facilitated by trained in the ASAM “Fundamentals of Addiction” medicine healthcare professionals, in addition to the Scottish Recovery Consortium lived experience – peer-led support volunteers for people in need to access available addiction and mental health primary care integrated treatment programmes to provide the most effective approach for supporting person-centred addiction and mental healthcare.
Vulnerable, at risk drug users human right is to receive treatment, not be dismissed, and discharged. However, due to cutbacks, long waiting times and lack of experienced in the fundamentals of addiction trainings: first responders, doctors, nurses and associated healthcare workers will soon be able to sign up for the American Society of Addiction Medicine training, so that people will no longer be turned away away instead of receiving treatment.
We are experiencing a health emergency. A radical restructuring of mental and addiction healthcare needs to actualise how people in need access and receive healthcare.
It is not good enough to say universal addiction will cost millions, actually addiction is costing people their lives…. addiction and mental healthcare is already costing billions globally: loss of income, loss of family, loss of life.
Changes in how vulnerable people access treatment is what I am suggesting for them to have a choice: a medically supervised impatient detox, impatient primary treatment plan with aftercare upon discharge to support the varying stages of addiction recovery or be discharged with appropriate medicine.
The NHS Health Scotland “Burden of Disease” study highlights that alcohol and drug dependence are major contributors to absolute inequalities and recommends that alongside other measures we must tackle conditions that are more prevalent within higher levels of deprivation.
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 2018-19 death toll 1,127, 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, but they aren’t consistently getting into the hands of the individuals or the communities that need them most.
What motivates me to continue to do service in the wider recovery community, to raise addiction awareness, and strive for essential changes in the dismissive, negative, judgemental language and perceptions that defines addiction? In my daily commitment to recovery I know I ned to reach out to my recovery tribe. It is my connecting with other recovering people that I feel “at home” accepted, seen and heard.
It is by overcoming prejudice, and stigma, (which stopped me initially from getting help when I most needed it) and making accessible inpatient and outpatient primary care, inpatient and outpatient addiction medicine treatment programmes that will save lives, NOW that is needed.
Let’s stop talking about what to do about addiction recovery ….we know what to do, and we know why people are dying from opioid overdoses…
I am currently engaged in forming strategic partnerships with Scottish recovery organisations to strengthen the focus on a full spectrum of addiction care: prevention, treatment, remission, aftercare, and re-generation of relationship with family, workplace and recovery communities.
The plan includes: patients and their families and will highlight the personal experience of addiction in much closer view aimed at leading scientific and medical progression in the field. It also exemplifies a firm recommitment to providing continued education for all treatment providers.
Renewed and redesigned goals amass to form a robust foundation and profound course of action in the spirit of the recovery from active addiction.
With a strategic plan in place, the opportunity to set standards, pioneer research, educate healthcare professionals and the public, challenge stigma, endeavours to enhance the goal of holistically treatments from medically supervised detoxes, to save lives, and reduce the financial burden upon the person in need of recovery, their family and community..
This strategic plan provides to guide and prioritize that way forward.
• Positive changes are seen as starting points for the recovery process: reduced harm, safer use, reduced use, moderation and potential abstinence.
• A comprehensive initial assessment will determine an initial personalized treatment plan based on substance use severity, the psychobiosocial factors, multiple meanings and functions of the behaviour, motivation to change, and insight.
• Effective treatment has a primary focus on engagement and therapeutic alliance throughout the assessment process that “starts where the person is” with empathy, respect and acceptance, because creating safety and support are seen as essential to the therapeutic outcomes.
• Teaching self-management skills to address urges and difficult emotions is often essential. An ongoing assessment throughout treatment deepens both client and therapist awareness of the addiction severity and its meaning and functions.
• Exploring the client’s resistance about change reveals the issues that need new solutions. As these issues are clarified, positive change goals around the substance use and these issues can be established.
• And, finally, a personalized plan for pursuing these positive changes can be developed collaboratively between client and therapist. The plan may include a variety of therapeutic modalities, lifestyle changes, health practices and medications depending on the client’s needs.
It is time for sustainable addiction healthcare programmes, that are accessible 24/7.