14th January issue

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 Leaping into recovery seems a fine way to start off this Leap Year – it’s good to be back! I hope you’rehaving a good 2008 so far. As it’s the time when wetraditionally hold ingrained habits up to the light in a spirit of willingness to change, you might find inspiration from Dr David McCartney’s cover story. Why settle for an uninspiring culture when this field should be all about motivating clients? His approach seems worth looking at. Not only has he looked at evidence of what’s worked at both ends of the country; he has joined up with the local experts to form a hub of expertise in Edinburgh. We are always looking to load the word ‘aftercare’ with real meaning, and the four pillars of the LEAP model build a substantial programme to accompany the client’s readiness to change.

Challenging ingrained attitudes is what we’re gearing up to do through the rapidly approaching DDN/Alliance ‘Nothing about us without us’ conference at the end of the month – and I have to say we’re very excited by the response from readers. The UK map on our office wall is studded with pins showing hundreds of delegates from all over the country – both service users and providers – and we’re looking forward to a very lively day. We’re determined to capture the thoughts, questions and issues raised at the event and follow them up in a DDN special issue, so the event will reflect the concerns and represent an evolving debate. If you have questions, or want answers, about any issues relating to service user involvement, come and join us! You have until 22 January to get in touch to secure your place.

The conference is as much for alcohol as well as drug users and services, and Don Shenker reveals a glimmer of hope that alcohol policy is limbering up to be taken seriously, on page 12. Local accountability through hard targets is surely the only way to make sure that commissioners take alcohol problems – and their prevention – seriously.

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