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In its first report an independent body established by the Scottish government to monitor its drug strategy has called for concrete evidence that recovery from addiction is being pursued and achieved at national and local levels.
From national and local guidance, commissioners and services, a rounded picture of how much Britain knows about and responds to the needs of the relatives of problem drug users. Increasing recognition of needs has generally yet to be matched by systematic needs assessments or service provision.
DOCUMENT 2012 HTM file
The government's alcohol strategy
The UK government alcohol strategy for England and Wales claims to signal a radical change to turn the tide against irresponsible drinking. After resisting the policy, headline is the commitment to setting a minimum per unit price for alcohol.
STUDY 2011 HTM file
The NTA overdose and naloxone training programme for families and carers
Up to 18 lives were known (and more perhaps unrecorded) to have been saved after the National Treatment Agency in England piloted training for the carers of opiate users on how to administer the overdose-reversing drug naloxone. But how does catering for relapse in this way square with the optimism of the recovery movement?
In England a brief primary care counselling programme for family members living with a relative with substance use problems unusually aims primarily to improve the family's lives and coping rather than that of the substance user. Even a year later it seems to have succeeded, and the improvements accumulated rather than faded.
In Norway, long-term continuity of care by the same adults in a family-like setting outside the home (a specially funded foster home or residential centre) was the key to a better later life for severely troubled young teenage substance users.
This US-focused review calls for parents with substance use problems in the child welfare system to receive integrated services which comprehensively assess health and social problems and systematically match needs to problems in the context of a positive client-provider relationship.
Review concludes that neither confrontation nor disengagement from a family member work as well at engaging them in treatment as an approach based on systematically organising the intended patient's social environment to reward treatment entry.
2010 English national drug strategy: "A fundamental difference [from] those that have gone before is that instead of focusing primarily on reducing the harms caused by drug misuse, [we will] go much further and offer every support for people to choose recovery as an achievable way out of dependency."
STUDY 2006 PDF file 196Kb
Patient-focused alcohol treatment aids wives and children too
Whether families benefit from alcohol treatment as well as the patients has rarely been studied. This US analysis demonstrated that they do, positioning alcohol treatment as also contributing to child and family welfare objectives.
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