Stop kicking people out of addiction treatment

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You are in rehab. You drink. You get kicked out. Fair do. Right? Wrong! Bill White asks the question  What’s the big problem that takes alcoholics and addicts into treatment? Drinking and using. Why then would you kick them out of treatment for the very thing that brought them into treatment? He says that in 2002, […]

Doctors and Nurses with Addictions

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As I’ve said before, doctors get addicted to alcohol and other drugs. They also get different treatment and outcomes from their patients. But what about nurses? If you are a nurse or a doctor with a substance problem and it comes to the attention of your employer, then what happens to you in the UK […]

Faith in pharmacology

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Holy grails are few and far between. Pharmaceutical holy grails are no different. They are as rare as a moderate position in the Scottish independence debate. We have a few prescription drugs licensed to treat addiction and some make things significantly better, some have modest impacts, and some appear to have little impact. Regardless of […]

Methadone improves mental health; what’s next?

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Good to see some research from Aberdeen focusing on mental health in patients on methadone and other opiate replacement therapy. Academics in Primary Care conducted a systematic review looking at twenty-two studies where mental health had been assessed at baseline and again at follow up. What did they find? “Mental health significantly improved for all groups receiving […]

Suboxone or Methadone – what do patients want?

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NHS North Lanarkshire asked 90 of their patients to give their viewpoints on what they thought of Suboxone vs. methadone for opioid replacement therapy (ORT). They found that ‘in comparison to methadone, patients receiving buprenorphine–naloxone were highly positive about their treatment experiences and its advantages over methadone, including the “clear-headed response”, improved well-being and concentration, possibility of […]

Doctors with addictions: double standards?

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Doctors get addicted to alcohol and other drugs; there’s plenty of evidence of that. My question is: Do doctors with addictions get the same kind of treatment and outcomes as their patients?  The British Medical Association estimates that there are 10,000 to 13,000 addicted doctors in the UK. Most of them will be in practice. What […]

Improve outcomes: add in 12-step mutual aid

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Much treatment for drug problems is outpatient. Trying to achieve abstinence is tough and some evidence suggests it is more likely to be the goal of clients than the aspiration of professionals for their clients. How well do clients do? This study by Gerald Cochrane and colleagues from New York looked at those clients maintaining abstinence in […]

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. […]