Thursday, 22 May 2008

Drug and Alcohol Findings - bookmark the site and read, read, read!

I love learning about things and I love trying to solve problems, particularly difficult ones. To me, its a great joy to read what other people have tried to do to tackle and overcome a problem. Even failures teach the reader something - they show you ways that might not be productive.

There are so many things to learn in this fascinating field of substance use, so I read, read, read. And think. There are so many good books and articles that have been written about substance use and misuse - of course, amongst a mass of dross. It is the same in any field.
Every now and again, I come across a new information resource which captures my attention - big-time! This happened when I discovered the Drug and Alcohol Findings magazine edited by Mike Ashton. I was overwhelmed by the information it contained and the high quality of writing. And the different types of section.
I treasured each copy, went mad when someone borrowed one and didn't bring it back, and eventually stored them all in a box file I didn't show people.   
Now, thanks to the J. Paul Getty Jr. Charitable Trust and The Pilgrim Trust, and Mike Ashton's unbelievable drive and dedication, it is online (well, not all of it yet). I can get it anytime I want - as long as I have access to the internet. It is wonderful! Life is a beach!!
Now why not go and check what I am raving about. This is such a wonderful information resource. A huge thank you to Mike Ashton.
PS. As an aside, I've discovered I'm one of three information junkies in this field, the other two I know being Mike Ashton and Tim  Leighton of Action on Addiction. I'm sure there are more of 'us info junkies' out there. Let me know if you are one as well.


Anonymous said...

Since getting recent funding, the Daily Dose has lost it's objectivity. I now feel that I'm reading some US style recovery website which is a shame because up until now it was a trusted resource.

David Clark said...

Dear Anonymous,
Sorry you feel like that, and you felt that you could not put your name to your comment. Always nice to see who does not like something.
Can I point out a few things to you? Firstly, the only change to content is my editorial (to which you seem to be objecting) and a few more links to blogs, which are often far more interesting and objective than newspaper articles. I think that DD editor Jim would feel disappointed that someone thought he had lost his objectivity - but would know he hasn't.
In relation to my blogs, I would have thought I had the right to publish such material on the DD site that the organisation that I direct, Wired In, is running. Editors of newspapers and magazines, such as DDN, write their piece. My piece will be at the top, labelled that it is from me, so it is easy enough to avoid clicking if you do not wish to read.
There has been a considerable readership of the blog and I receive numbers of positive e-mails. You are the first person to send a negative comment - whoops I forgot one other who commented in my presence.
I disagree with you that Daily Dose reads like a US style recovery website - as I am sure most other people would.
Can I ask you whether you have a problem with me writing about recovery? Isn't this why we are here, why we are working in this field? To help people overcome substance use problems, to help people with serious substance use problems find recovery?
If so, why shouldn't I be writing about recovery, amongst the other topics I cover.
If you feel we aren't here to help people find recovery...

tim1leg said...

I was always under the impression that objectivity meant just unbiased and not influenced by emotions or personal prejudices, not always an easy task for most human beings.

Perhaps the objectivity you understand is influenced by biased emotions or personal prejudices. Please can you explain for me why promoting recovery and those who have recovered in various ways is nonobjective and biased because it seems to me that you may have a personal stake in trying to make the waters muddy and to me this is very unjust. Sounds to me that you feel threatened by real objectivity and unbiased comment why is this and if possible identify yourself.

Anonymous said...

I'm reminded of a time -- many years ago, now -- when I went for an interview as a researcher. I was turned down for the job because the Principal Researcher claimed 'As somebody who is in methadone treatment, there's no way you can be objective about drug treatment.'

It seemed to me that it was actually easier for me to be objective. I was very clear and honest about my own experiences, beliefs and assumptions of drug treatment. He, on the other hand, seemed to have a whole lot of unexamined assumptions about stuff about things like the comparative efficacy of woefully under-researched treatments like 28 day community detox.

I'm also reminded of the first time I felt ashamed to be identified as a harm reductionist -- something that's happened on a number of occasions since then. It happens every time another drugs worker conflates their own agenda around drug prohibition and the issue of drug treatment.

Every time I hear yet another smug, middle-class drugs worker who likes use their fat salary to buy a little pot, going on about how people in drug treatment don't need to worry about change because that's just the man oppressing them, I reach for my sick bag. Exactly which 'man' is it that's doing the oppressing here? Would it be the man who arrests them for prolific offending, or 'the man' who would have them remain in a pattern of compulsive, self-destructive use? Hey, don't worry about that shit, man. Just come along and see me once a fortnight and we'll have a bit of a rap about how things are going, OK? And are you sure you wouldn't like an extra 10mg while we're at it?

For the longest time, I used to get angry about bone-headed abstinence zealots who were determined to push people into abstinence whether they felt they could manage or not. Those people used to enrage me, because I'm personally aware of people who died unnecessarily as a result of this kind of uncritical, unexamined dogma.

Sadly, the same sort of destructive ideologies can now be seen among people who identify themselves as firmly within the harm reduction camp. Here's a clue for those people: the idea of harm reduction is to actually *reduce* some harm -- not to maintain a stagnant pond of harm, or even worse, to encourage it to spread and grow.

tim1leg said...

Peter can I just say, I love you! lol, never met you mate but i admire a fellow straight talker. You cheered me up no end with your posts today. Big hug x

David Clark said...

Well that makes two fans Peter, because I loved your blogs - sorry three as I've just had someone on the phone saying they loved them.
Wow, what a great last statement. Your sentiments are shared by a great many treatment agency workers I have met - who get so pissed off the shit other workers and commissioners are signing up to. But the shit doesn't want people stirring things up.
Did you see my FDAP talk (2nd May blog) where I emphasised that if the workers don't shout out about the problems, they're going to lose their jobs anyway when the system implodes - as it did in States.
Your comments have passion and sentiment!

Anonymous said...

What attracted me to the Daily Dose in the first place was the breadth of coverage. I still feel the same. I've taken a look and can't see any bias in the selection of articles. There's a good mixture of all sorts of things there.
Recovery is something most addicts want and its completely appropriate for David Clark to support this in his editorial comments.
Personally, my belief is that we could do with some swing of the balance scales in the direction of recovery in the UK. A lot of clients in treatment services out there are not getting choice.