Friday, 12 July 2013

Neil Young News: Sit vs Stand: The Never Ending Dilemma

Neil Young News: Sit vs Stand: The Never Ending Dilemma

I need 2 tickets for Neil Young and Crazy horse who are appearing in Liverpool in August. Echo Arena. I saw Neil young and pearl Jam in Berlin about 18 years ago and they were great. I like his new style of writing. Sure I like his old songs but I like his new songs as well.

Anyway can ANYBODY HELP PLEASE???????????? lOVE CARLY

Wednesday, 14 November 2012 - Is boredom bad for your health? - Is boredom bad for your health?
Well let me see; considering it can lead to intense paranoia, frustration, anger and a general feeling of ennui that refines to a langorous yet intense and inescapable desire to escape this world with it's stupid boredom.  Car into a concrete pillar at 150 Kph?  Nah, might survive! Aaagh, the though!  Drive off a cliff, or high level multi-storey car park?  Can you drive a car off the top of a multi storey?  Does Asda's 3-level multi-storey car park have the required height to drive off?  Or does it have a little parapet, a concrete one, which runs around the top deck?
Dammit! It's not high enough is it?  Anyway, I'm too bored to move just now.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Gradualism and Addiction Treatment


Gradualism . . .

Seeks to utilize and integrate the best of the harm reduction, traditional, and scientific treatment approaches to create an effective and compassionate model for the treatment of drug and alcohol addictions;

Embraces the states of abstinence, moderation, or non-addictive use as the ultimate, if not necessarily the immediate, goal of the treatment process;

Understands that while some patients will make rapid and dramatic changes, others will need a slow process of change and healing;

Emphasizes that many patients need to work not only on their addictive behavior, but also on their psychological and emotional pain and anguish and that these issues may need to be addressed simultaneously or even first;

Celebrates the many wonderful recoveries that have come out of traditional and science-based treatment settings, while challenging these providers to work with active users in ways that will allow them to heal and change gradually;

Affirms the incredible connections and life-saving interventions that take place in harm reduction settings, while challenging harm reduction providers to embrace the ultimate goals of abstinence, moderation, or non-addictive use;

Understands that long-term recovery is built on the creation of meaningful and rewarding identities that will conflict with and replace those that are based on the addictive use of substances.

Gradualism and Addiction Treatment

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Not4Me? Youth Drug Education and Prevention

Not4Me? Youth Drug Education and Prevention

Fear and abstinence only drug education?
It's not enough 4 me.

The Canadian government's latest youth anti-drug "education" campaign (see:, continues to rely on the tired, ineffective messages of fear and abstinence. Unfortunately, this approach fails to capture the reality for many youth when it comes to drugs. For this reason, Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy felt it necessary to respond with this website.

National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse - Facing the future: Paul Hayes' speech to Drugscope conference

National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse - Facing the future: Paul Hayes' speech to Drugscope conference

Harm reduction services will remain a cornerstone of a balanced drug treatment system even as it adopts a more recovery-oriented focus, according to Paul Hayes, NTA Chief Executive.

He told a DrugScope conference that government plans for the new Public Health Service to oversee drug and alcohol treatment services was a guarantee of the enduring importance of reducing blood-borne virus infections and drug-related deaths.

"The new Drug Strategy will be recovery-focussed but that does not mean it is abstinence-obsessed. There is no threat to harm reduction services," said Mr Hayes.

"There is no political appetite to challenge the maintenance of a balanced treatment system in which harm reduction services are the bedrock of what we do and a gateway into treatment and recovery. Our challenge for the future is adding recovery into what we do in a more systematic way, not subtracting harm reduction."

Mr Hayes spoke shortly before Anne Milton, the Public Health Minister, announced that the spending review had transferred some of the £600 million drugs budget from the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice to the Department of Health from next year.

"This gives us the chance to join up spending on drug treatment to improve support along the full course of a person's recovery," she told the conference on tackling drugs in the new decade.

"It also means we can avoid waste and duplication – to make sure every penny really works hard for service users." (Read Anne Milton's speech)

Earlier Mr Hayes confided that he was "not losing sleep" over the prospective level of the Pooled Treatment Budget next year, but he was worried about the threat of disinvestment by hard-pressed local authorities and primary care trusts who currently spend an extra £200 million on drug treatment in England.

He urged DrugScope members to lobby local politicians, councillors and decision-makers to maintain the level of local investment in drug treatment and ensure the new Public Health Service had local as well as national funding streams.

Mr Hayes said the NTA's role over the next 18 months was to manage the transition to the Public Health Service, into which the NTA itself would be incorporated. The NTA would continue to promote recovery, improve skills, incentivise performance, and ensure transparency and set out a business plan for 2011-12 once the Drug Strategy was published.

Mr Hayes added: "We want a recovery-oriented system that is ambitious for clients, focussed on outcomes, engaged with communities, and plumbed into mutual aid networks, so that people who go on this journey emerge not only drug-free but also have a job, somewhere to live, are in touch with their families and a stake in society."

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Facebook (25) | How the hepatitis C virus can infect brain cells on its own

Facebook (25) | How the hepatitis C virus can infect brain cells on its own

How the hepatitis C virus can infect brain cells on its own

Published on Wednesday, 06 October 2010 at 13:27

Hepatitis C (HCV Disease) is much more than a liver disease. The liver is the last to go.

Hep C can infect, damage brain tissues: Report

By Sarah O'Donnell, Edmonton Journal

EDMONTON — A virus best known for the damage it does to the liver can also damage brain cells, University of Alberta researchers report in a new study.

The research into the impact of hepatitis C on the brain is significant, they say, because it marks the first time scientists have been able to show that the virus can infect the brain.

"It has been a question for a long time," said Pornpun Vivithanaporn, a post-doctoral fellow in the U of A's Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry and first author of the hepatitis C study, which was published last week in the Public Library of Science One Journal.

"It proves the virus has implications on neurological disease," she said Tuesday.

Hepatitis C infects about 170 million people globally and about 300,000 in Canada. It targets the liver, causing inflammation and cirrhosis.

Researchers already knew that severe liver disease can affect a person's brain, but more recent research suggested that hepatitis C patients without serious liver problems also could suffer from brain-related issues such as memory loss, trouble concentrating, apathy and depression.

The new study allowed a team of researchers to show precisely how the hepatitis C virus can infect brain cells on its own.

"That had never been shown before," said lead researcher Dr. Christopher Power, a neurologist who works in the U of A's Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry. "It gets in there, it infects and it replicates. For a virologist, that's a really core observation. You can see infection of the cells and you can see replication."

To show how the hepatitis C virus infects brain cells, Power pointed to a computer screen in his U of A lab on Tuesday.

On one side of the screen, pictures of two healthy brain cells appeared in red. On the other side, those same cells appeared peppered with green dots. And in this picture, green is bad since it represents a buildup of viral proteins that eventually damage and kill the cell. In a way, Power explained, the virus can cause brain cells to drown in their own garbage.

The discovery is important, Power said for a couple of reasons.

First, he said, there are immediate clinical implications. "It tells us we need to be vigilant for neurological problems for people who have hepatitis C," he said.

That would mean taking such steps as ensuring patients have assess to a neurologist or psychologist on their team of physicians as well as a liver specialist.

"The second issue is it underscores the importance (of) developing new treatment for hepatitis C so we can prevent infection of the brain," said Power, whose research is funded by Alberta Innovates — Health Solutions and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

There is now no vaccine to prevent hepatitis C. Researchers have uncovered some treatments that work for a portion of patients infected with hepatitis C, but those also can have serious side effects for some people.

Michael Harmsworth, a hepatitis C sufferer who counts Power among his five doctors, said Tuesday he was extremely interested to learn about the research team's discovery. He said he hadn't realized that hepatitis C had the potential to affect the brain until Power showed him computer images of infected tissue samples.

Harmsworth, who was diagnosed about 13 years ago, said it all points toward progress.

"It's making me think, 'Hey, I may still have my time left here,'" Harmsworth said. "My little girl is nine years old and I want to be here when she turns 16 and goes to the prom."

© Copyright (c) The Edmonton Journal

F For Fake ; Demo tape 1983

Friday, 17 September 2010



Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Facebook | National Users' Network

Facebook | National Users' Network
I thought you might be interested in Paul Hayes... See more’ latest-to service users via the Alliance. This is a copy of Peter McDermott’s account of the meeting, and if there’s one person I do trust to put the case for evidenced based treatment to government it is Peter. Here goes, FYI: Meetings with Paul Hayes « on: July 19, 2010, 05:09:22 PM » Last week, I had a couple of meetings with Paul Hayes talk about the issues raised by the remark in the NTA business plan regarding time limits on substitute prescribing. The first meeting was really a meeting with me as an NTA Board Member, in which he gave me some sense of the background and the political context in which all this takes place. He asked me to treat this discussion as being in confidence, and so I am. However, he went on to give me some additional background to the whole issue of time limits which he then shared with Alliance staff and a representative of the National User Network, which I'll share here today. According to Paul, the NTA have been increasingly concerned by the fact that we successfully get a lot of people into treatment, but we don't get quite as many out. They've got concerns, some of which I share personally, about the quality of the psychosocial input that many of these service users have been receiving. As I said, I think that this is, by and large, fair comment. He claims that nothing will take place prior to the establishment of an expert group that will take another look at the clinical guidance and try and assess what that person best needs. That group should recognize that some people will be in treatment for extended periods -- and for some people, perhaps even many people -- their involvement in treatment may be life-long. That said, abstinence is the primary objective treatment, and so there's a hope -- or an assumption -- that for most, that will be the primary goal. So, some of what Paul told us was partly reassuring. He claimed that the expert group will be pursuing an evidence-based approach to the issue. and nothing should make it in if it isn't supported by the evidence. He told us that the group would be chaired by an eminent clinician -- though it will also include some of the more vocal critics of methadone treatment. I suppose I have a couple of major concerns/objections to the issue at this stage. I'll try and list them here: 1.) The Alliance was initially established because of the poor quality of methadone maintenance here in the UK. Back in the 90's, inadequate access to prescribing, sub therapeutic doses and arbitrary time limits were common features of methadone treatment that we've fought long and hard to contest. 2.) Methadone treatment has long been stigmatized as a 'second class treatment' in certain quarters -- somehow inferior to abstinence-based treatment. From here, it's a relatively short step to the idea that people in pharmacologically-assisted recovery are somehow inferior, or that the quality of their recovery is somehow inferior, to abstinence based recovery. This attitude may well reduce the number of people who access methadone treatment, thereby depriving people of a treatment that has proven benefits re. the avoidance of overdose, the reduction in blood born virus infections and involvement in crime. 3.) Drug treatment providers in the UK do nuance and subtlety very poorly. Already, service users are being told by their service provider that treatment is being limited to two years for everybody. This is already beginning to cause anxiety and having an impact on people's stability. It's pretty clear to me that this agenda is being politically driven to some extent. While it is reasonable for politicians to set aspirations with regard to various aspects of health policy, issues concerning patient care currently are, and should remain, to be matters for discussion/negotiation between patient and clinician. In summary, while the picture might not be as bleak as it appeared last week, there are still some significant causes for concern. As usual, The Alliance will continue to monitor the situation on behalf of people who use the drug treatment system, campaign for maximum patient choice and for the availability of optimum care, and will continue to struggle against stigma and discrimination in the treatment system. We're interested in what's going on with regard to this agenda, so if you've been affected by it in some way -- please get in touch and let us know what's happening. mcd Oh, by the way, yesterday's Guardian carried a piece on this issue. No doubt the issue will arise again soon. Best wishes, Francis

Tuesday, 18 May 2010


May. My favourite month. Why is it so bloody cold here in the UK?
May should be soft, warm sunshine on your cheeks, not hovering over the central heating's thermostat.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Recover plus

Just as it seems some may never achieve their 'full potential' and, having gained control of their drinking/drug use may, if they wish drink or imbibe in a manner deemed Socially Acceptable, having to halt at the abstention stage of recovery and proceeding no further owing to the nature of their particular demons, so users of narcotic drugs-some of them- may proceed no further in the recovery process described than the Substitution /medically treated stage.

In either or both cases I am convinced that health and quality both exists and may improve with assistance. FBC Thursday 19th June 08

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Recovery in the UK

Recovery in the U.K.

The diabetes analogy.

A harm reduction advocate in the U.K. wrestles with the idea of a system organized around recovery:

So, hang on, if I'm a substance user who voluntarily controls my own substance use but who chooses not to have participation in the "rights and roles and responsibilities of society" I can't be in recovery? Who says so? What you going to do? Make voting and working and watching Eastenders mandatory for all ex users? Recovery is what I define it as.

Or say I want to participate in the "three R's" of society but every 6 months or so I have a binge. Am I not in Recovery? Don't I have any say in deciding that?

For me, defining Recovery as a process to be controlled by the individual, but then imposing a whole set of values and outcomes upon what "characterises" that recovery is to miss the point. You have to let me judge what my Recovery is. It is not up to you to normalise me. These are my choices, my hopes and my decisions. You make them yours, then you do exactly what those early mental health activists feared. You create "a cosmetic initiative that maintains the dependence of individuals on the system".

I suppose I understand the apprehension, that a recovery-oriented system just being a new set of parameters for doing the same old thing--controlling people. We've certainly had the experience of seeing systems earnestly describe themselves as recovery-oriented when, in practice, they still blame clients for the client's "failure to change" when, in truth, the system failed to provide the support the client needed. Also, there is some history of recovery advocates (before they were called recovery advocates) imposing one narrow path as THE way to recover.

Before I get into my reactions, let me say that I mean no disrespect. I see her blog post as a constructive attempt to articulate her concerns rather than dismiss or attack.

However, there's a way in which I bristle at the statement above. I think it paints a caricature of recovery advocates and addicts. The statement suggests that those who advocate recovery may be invested in forcing some sort of conformity onto addicts. I also believe that it hints at a view of addiction of a nonconformist lifestyle choice rather than an illness characterized by loss of control. The truth, in my experience, is that they're suffering terribly due to their addiction and often don't dare to hope for recovery. Once we impart some hope for recovery, (by offering success stories, hope-engendering relationships, respect and love) they want recovery. They may be concerned that we're asking them to give up their identity and become conformist but this is quickly dismissed by experiencing the recovering community first hand--it could hardly be characterized as conformist.

My response to the concern would be that a recovery-oriented system doesn't force anything, Can a client choose to use every six months and consider themselves in recovery? Sure. They're free to do whatever they want. Would I consider this recovery? If the binge is unintentional, I might characterize this as serial recovery but continue to work toward a more stable recovery. If the binge is planned, ("I'll just go on a binge once every 6 months!") I suppose I would not consider that recovery. I believe that part of recovery is participating in self-care to maintain recovery. However, if a person is capable of "tying one on" once every six months in a way that does not create problems in their life, I wouldn't consider that person an addict. My reaction is not some sort of moral reflex. I'd have the same reaction to a diabetic who goes on a sugar binge every six months and lands in the hospital. That person would not be in recovery from their diabetes. Now, does my judgment that this hypothetical is not recovery mean that I would try to coerce the client into my definition of recovery or abandon them? No. My response to this would be to try to be a fellow traveler and recognize that this is the client's journey.

Recovery is all about freedom. The freedom to live one's life in the way one chooses without being a slave to addiction or being controlled by treatment or criminal justice systems.

That is not to say that we cannot as professionals, service users and policy makers do what they did in mental health and begin to explore what we need to do to support Recovery, to define the conditions in which opportunities for people to achieve Recovery are optimised, or to find new ways of working which return the power to the service user and rebalance old inequalities. This is how Recovery became the dominant philosophy in the UK mental health field. I spent some time with an old friend last week who has spent years as a service manager working towards Recovery oriented mental health services. She told me that in the late 90's and early part of the century Recovery rapidly gained credence in mental health. Through the work of user groups and coalitions, the developmental work of NIMHE and other organisations across the field, and through live projects and action research, consensus was built around the Recovery model. She said the biggest challenge she faced was in changing the staff culture. No longer were people there to make decisions for people, to impose their will on people or even to ‘lead by example’. Staff had to find a new role, one that was about first of all helping people define their own ideas of what Recovery would mean – whether that was feeling completely well, or finding something they owned and understood in their own experience of illness (for example having a positive experience of hearing voices). But once that challenge had been dealt with, she said the battle was not over. Key for the success of the Recovery model was the ability of staff to empower service users to access the help and support they needed in the community.

This is the key. We've struggled mightily with maintaining a professional culture that is focused on recovery. It often conflicts with human nature and the instincts of professional helpers, so we have to accept that it will be a constant struggle. On the subject, we contributed to this paper.

I've been thinking about a model of recovery-oriented harm reduction that would address the historic failings of abstinence-oriented and harm reduction services. The idea is that it would provide recovery (for addicts only) as an organizing and unifying construct for treatment and harm reduction services. Admittedly, these judgments of the historic failings are my own and represent the perspective of a Midwestern U.S. recovery-oriented provider:

  • an emphasis on client choice--no coercion
  • all drug use is not addiction
  • addiction is an illness characterized by loss of control
  • for those with addiction, full recovery is the ideal outcome
  • the concept of recovery is inclusive -- can include partial, serial, etc.
  • recovery is possible for any addict
  • all services should communicate hope for recovery--recognizing that hope-based interventions are essential for enhancing motivation to recover
  • incremental and radical change should be supported and affirmed
  • while incremental changes are validated and supported, they are not to be treated as an end-point
  • such a system would aggressively deal with countertransference--some people may impose their own recovery path on clients, others might enjoy vicarious nonconformity through clients

Tuesday, 15 April 2008


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Addenda to report to Treatment Strategy Group

(Q3 2006).

It is worth noting the opportunities afforded service users who make up InnerAction, such as training for substance misuse work and including basic resuscitation training for overdose situations have been matched

Networking with other agencies –partnership working even has developed this year; as with the previous three years, Wirral Mind has accommodated InnerAction and C The Difference meetings. In the last three months a number of service users seeking to become drug-free have become involved with the “Choose Life” program.

This program is available for stable people looking to increase their work activity and at the same time contribute the lessons they have learned during their experience with drug use, by performing dramatic pieces to schoolchildren and local police forces and others. The use of drama is not a new idea to members of the group –as the case of the brothers MacEneany, Patrick and John, who were showcased by the Wirral Globe as success stories of the DIP program. It is gratifying to work with this relatively small group as we believe it fits well with the InnerAction ethos and appears to contribute great benefit in terms of self esteem and future employability. We look forward to develop further links with Choose Life, as we also do with Advocacy in Wirral. Mandy from Advocacy has become a member of the group and it is hoped that a dedicated advocacy session for the group may be established, probably once a month, with confidential sessions on a one-to-one basis being made available.


Sunday, 6 April 2008

Mersey Care Trust - Get Clean Campaign

Merseyside Trust under fire from service users over use of shock tactics Merseyside Care NHS Trust has provoked an angry reaction from online service user forums with a campaign that uses a 'Get Clean' slogan and imagery to get drug users into treatment. But addictions service manager Bob Dale has defended the Trust's use of controversial tactics as a way of getting noticed to save lives. The campaign uses pictures of a mocked up range of household cleaning products, including washing powder, shower gel and washing up liquid, with the words 'get clean', 'fast track drug detox and treatment', a freephone number and the address of a local drop-in centre. The large images have already been posted on local bus shelters, sides of buses and phone boxes. Members of the National User Network (NUN) say the campaign could not have had genuine input from service users and reported that groups in their areas were 'horrified' at the insulting and negative labelling of drug users. An ex-drug user, Kevin Manley, called for Mr Dale's resignation on his online blog. But Bob Dale told DDN that his research had been thorough; that a focus group from the Kevin White Unit, a local inpatient detox unit, had chosen the name and theme of the campaign and suggested the advertising sites. He had then previewed the campaign at an event with a lot of drug and alcohol treatment services in the area, and had made a point of gaining approval from the NTA's regional representative. According to Mr Dale, just one person at the open meeting suggested that the campaign might upset a few people, but in the main it had been 'positively received and highly praised'. 'We were in the dark about how best to reach people,' he said. 'We wanted to give them simple access into treatment. Before, we were getting a lot of anecdotal stuff about how long you had to wait to get into treatment. This campaign gives one message, one number. A lot of the time it's about windows of opportunity - you've got to grasp them'. Mr Dale added that he welcomed suggestions for future initiatives, but had no intention of withdrawing the 'Get Clean' campaign, as it was already attracting a 'steady response' from new treatment clients

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Friday, 28 March 2008

Scrub your soul clean!

Seen around Merseyside, North West England, recently; this advert reminds me of my catholic upbringing. 'Still got that old "Original Sin?" well just buy **** and scrub it all away!'
The reason I wanted to post this is because Nobody gets "clean" in 6 weeks or 3 months or whatever they are suggesting in this ad: it takes dedication, will-power, good friends with clear heads and above all TIME to get rid of a drug or alcohol habit.
If this 'product' (the same product -or 'treatment' -as we in the health service prefer to call it) does what it says on the cover, then Praise The Lord, cos our problems are all magically and suddenly over (in the substance abuse field anyway). If not, on the other hand, then I thought there was this rule about adverts having to be "open, honest and truthful" about their product's claims.
Or did I dream that bit?
Anyone know the Advertising Standards Authority address?

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

InnerAction and the Cure

Hey, it's me. You are my audience and I am your writer. Good to meet at last, though I have had this feeling, all my life really, that you've been around - sniffing at the bins for my discarded second rate poetry, looking over my shoulder at my filofax entries. Maybe not?
To bed now. Carol calls