This year has held more political turbulence than most of us can stomach. Alongside that, the ongoing onslaught on budgets and growing demands on the sector have ramped up the pressure with no easy way forward.
But we mustn’t be lost for words. At the recent Hit Hot Topics conference, American neuroscientist Professor Carl Hart said ‘When there is injustice we need to take risks. When Obama was in office, we went to sleep and claimed victories for things that weren’t victories… You know the score with Trump. It’s better to know the score than to hear pretty lies. Go to work.’
Dr Judith Yates’ article, ‘A name not a number’, demonstrates why it’s our duty to do more. Heroin-related deaths have doubled – yet what are we doing with these statistics? The work of DRD inquiry groups is being stifled by financial cuts, but we know that the vast majority of drug related deaths are of people who are not engaged in treatment – and more than half of them have never been in services.
Simple inexpensive actions, says Dr Yates, can make all the difference, and this is echoed in many moving stories at the Addaction conference. But as Stephen Molloy warned, talking about essential service user activism, ‘We’ve become the deserving versus the undeserving… if we don’t challenge, governments will carry on doing what they’re doing.’
Our next issue of DDN is out on Monday 6 February. Keep in touch at www.drinkanddrugsnews.com and @DDNmagazine