Monday, 31 March 2008

Some good and some bad

I'd like to thank Action on Addiction for becoming a new Lead Sponsor of Daily Dose. We've also started an Associate Sponsor's programme (£1,000 per annum) following kind offers of support from Salford DAAT and Barking & Dagenham DAAT. 

Sadly, we have not been offered support from the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG), despite the fact that Daily Dose is run out of Swansea and I live a mere 12 miles from the Assembly building. What makes this worse is that for the second year running my emails to the WAG have not been answered. 
Courtesy and good communication are two essential elements in the substance misuse field. It would be nice to think that central government set a good example, but this does not seem to be the case in the present matter. Mind you, I cannot complain about government officials in England and Scotland. Not only are the Home Office, National Treatment Agency and Scottish Government sponsoring us, I had positive communications from each of them on Easter Tuesday. Only eight days after we had started our funding drive! Thank you very much.
Well, I guess there is always the possibility that WAG might see the error of their ways and bite the bullet. We are still accepting sponsorship offers - and you can contact me here.
And while I am having a constructive winge, please check out Kevin's Blog. I thought that this was a joke, but soon found out that insanity reigns in a part of Liverpool. I had to pull Lucie off the ceiling. 

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Come back, Jim! They've saved us!!

Daily Dose editor Jim Young on the brink...

You did it!

On Monday, 17th March 2008, we announced we were in a crisis situation and could not continue running Daily Dose without a commitment of £100,000 funding for the coming year. 

We are thrilled to announce that this target has been reached. The following organisations have agreed to become Lead Sponsors of Daily Dose: 
  • Addaction
  • Ayurva
  • Castle Craig Hospital
  • Centre for Drug Misuse Research, University of Glasgow
  • Concateno
  • HIT
  • Home Office
  • National Treatment Agency
  • Scottish Government
We would like to point out that the National Treatment Agency made a very significant financial contribution. We are awaiting final decisions from two other organisations who have expressed serious interest. 
We have received many emails in the past two weeks about Daily Dose. We are humbled by the praise that has been expressed about the service and the universal concern about its imminent demise. A number of individuals donated money to our charity Wired International Ltd for Daily Dose. I think I have replied to every email, but if I missed yours, I'm sorry. It has been a very busy period!
For the organisations who have not yet responded to our initial email, or are in an early stage of negotiation, there is still time to become a Lead Sponsor. We have many ideas for important new facets of the Daily Dose service. The more sponsorship we can raise, the better the service we can provide to YOU. And the more we can help you to help people affected by substance use problems.
Thanks to all who provided support, whatever form that has taken. 

Friday, 28 March 2008

Well done Scotland!

I was really pleased to see in yesterday's Daily Dose the article, 'Recovery will be key in new drugs strategy'. Fergus Ewing and all his colleagues in the Scottish Government, and beyond, need a pat on the back for moving their strategy in this direction. Let us hope the momentum is maintained and there is serious action. Implementation  of the strategy must be based on a full understanding of what recovery is.

It's going to take time to educate and train people to understand recovery and how we can move people from the culture of addiction to the culture of recovery. Wired In is committed to educating, training and informing people about recovery, and in supporting recovery communities. 
We must prevent people getting bogged down in the issue of 'abstinence vs. harm reduction'. So many people who do not understand recovery want to reduce things to a simplistic black and white. This must stop. Pushing the recovery agenda does NOT mean attacking harm reduction or harm minimisation  - unless the person intends that to be the case.
WIRED has been committed to recovery and empowering people to find their path to recovery from our first development. We have made this clear with our new identity, Wired In, and logo. Kevin Manley has started the first of our Recovery Blogs and you can also read his story. My Drink and Drugs News Background Briefings on recovery can be found at:
Enjoy the reads. It's been an excellent week.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

A change of identity

As I said a few days ago, we are changing our identity from WIRED to Wired In. We are also developing an array of blogs focusing on our different activities, which you can access from the right-hand side of this column. Bear with us as we load up more material on each of these blogs, and develop new blogs.

You can meet some of our team on 'Our faces', revisit my 'Background Briefings' articles that appeared in Drink and Drugs News, and read some of our 'Personal Stories'. 
The first of our stories concerns Kevin Manley, who will tell you about his addiction and ongoing path to recovery. Kevin has been a Wired In volunteer for the past two years and it has been fascinating and wonderful to watch his recovery. And a great pleasure to be a close friend.
I suggested to Kevin that he might think about starting a blog. He hasn't just thought about it, he's grappled with the instructions, checked out other blogs, and just gone for it...
I hope he doesn't mind, but here's the link.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Progress made on funding shortfall

It's been a very good day and things have moved along significantly in our drive to save Daily Dose. However, I cannot relax - the sword of Damocles is still hanging there, as described by a colleague. We are getting closer, but we are not there yet. So I urge those who you who can help but who have not contacted us yet, to please do so as soon as possible. 

If everyone who has told us they are considering funding Daily Dose does so, then  we can make the magic six figures. That would say something about the vitality of the field, as I only made my statement about the impending closure of Daily Dose just eight days a go. Let's do it!
Now, I'm not the only neophyte in the substance use field in this blogging business. Professor Frederick Rotgers, who is American Editor-in-Chief of the journal "Addiction Research and Theory", has started a blog over in Philadelphia. I am really enthused by this move, not just because of Fred's eminent standing and background, but because he is focusing on bioethical issues in substance use treatment. Intriguing and essential stuff! Please check out Fred's Blog
I should point out that Fred immediately responded to DD's plight with an e-mail of support and suggestions. Thanks Fred!

Monday, 24 March 2008

Saving Daily Dose

Our Editor Jim Young in his Daily Dose suite...

As some of you will know, I have made a statement that Wired In cannot continue running Daily Dose, the world's leading news portal on substance misuse, unless we attract some serious sponsorship or other form of funding. Daily Dose has survived for seven years on a low level of funding, or none at all, and I have put in much free time and personal money to keep it going. This simply cannot continue.
We've received a heart-warming response to our statement and we would like to thank all those who have written e-mails of support, provided suggestions, sent donations, or have indicated that their organisation will consider providing funding. Daily Dose is valued highly by many people around the globe.
However, the bottom line is that we still have a long way to go before we reach the level of funding that Daily Dose requires for survival. The UK spends over £3 billion per annum tackling substance use problems so you would think that the country could afford the £100,000 that would guarentee continued publication of Daily Dose. Our service saves practitioners and commissioners so much time, helps improve practice, and keeps other people informed. And yet, here I am pleading for the survival of Daily Dose on their behalf.
This is the last week before service at Daily Dose is suspended, pending adequate funding. Will those who control the purse strings, please get in touch with good news ... soon!

Sunday, 23 March 2008

Time to speak out

It's time to join the blogging world and speak out for the people who are affected by substance use problems. There are nowhere near enough people doing this, which is really sad given the prejudice that exists in today's society. 

I also want to keep you in touch with what is happening at Wired In. Yes, we've finally developed a new brand and logo, Wired In, leaving our old identity WIRED behind. Well, we've not dropped the WIRED name completely as the old website still exists. We're having a new site and content management system developed, but this was will not be completed until the summer. Please bear with us whilst we make the full transition between WIRED and Wired In.  
The team and I are really thrilled with the logo, which was developed for us by our close collaborators Spoken Image. It is so versatile. We felt that we needed to state what we stand for - we want to help people seriously affected by substance use problems, either directly or indirectly, find recovery. 
And if you don't know what recovery is, then please read my Background Briefing "Recovery and Recovery Communities" in the magazine Drink and Drugs News