The ten most important things known about addiction. Part 2

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The conclusion of this two-parter. Part one here. Professor Selman’s last five essentials: 6. Different therapies appear to produce similar treatment outcomes. Project MATCH, a huge psychotherapy trial showed similar outcomes for the techniques of motivational enhancement therapy, twelve step facilitation and cognitive behavioural therapy. Other trials including British ones have shown the same results. The […]

The ten most important things known about addiction. Part 1

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Doug Sellman is a professor of psychiatry and addiction medicine in New Zealand. In 2010 in the journal Addiction, a world leader, he attempted the difficult task of distilling the ten things you need to know about addiction from the research of the last thirty years. No mean feat. Well, what are they? Ten things are way […]

Altruism & AlAnon: in helping we are helped

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“Giving implies to make the other person a giver also.” So said Eric Fromm whose quote starts this research paper which travels to the heart of mutual aid. The clear message? In helping other, we help ourselves. The recovery saying “We only keep what we have by giving it away” hits the mark in this respect. The […]

Why recovery needs to embrace harm reduction

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Weave harm reduction in Despite my focus on recovery I have a strong harm reduction ethos at my core. Sure, I challenge services to be recovery-orientated, but I firmly believe that the reverse needs to be true. Rehabs and other services with a recovery goal ought to have harm reduction practices woven into their fabric. […]

Methadone, Suboxone and Recovery: what really happened?

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Recently I found a paper I wanted to read about the policy shift from harm reduction to recovery in the UK and the impact on attitudes to methadone. It’s a fascinating subject. As I say, I really wanted to read it, but I kept getting distracted by a persistent question: what’s the difference between recovery […]

Addiction is like diabetes, so treat it the same way

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Does addiction behave like diabetes? In some ways, yes. The two are common, acquired conditions influenced by genetics and environment. In the UK, diabetes is managed in primary care using the chronic care management model. Changes in legislation in the USA mean that there will be more focus on chronic disease management in the future. […]

Recovery too hard? Methadone for life!

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  Berlin, like many big cities has a heroin problem. People presenting for help are being prescribed opioid replacement therapy (ORT) in greater numbers. That’s a good thing isn’t it? Well it depends on what you think is the end goal of treatment. At the start of this interesting recent German paper  “Why do patients stay […]

Methadone and the Hall of Mirrors

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The International Journal of Drug Policy takes an editorial wander through the ‘hall of mirrors’ that is opioid replacement therapy pointing out that, depending on viewpoint, ORT can be seen as “a medical treatment; a method of harm reduction; an overdose prevention tactic; a crime reduction strategy; a public health measure; a social welfare intervention; an administrative […]

Addiction researchers’ early trumpeting can leave foul stench

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Keith Humphreys is given prominence in the journal Addiction to make powerful points about the harm that can be done when scientists are too eager to share new findings. Too eager means bypassing the peer review process that can highlight research shortcomings and often limits the potential for misunderstandings. He points to the recent headlines which […]