Thursday, 31 July 2008

Stimulation in Scotland

I have just returned from an enjoyable two days north of the border, in my favourite part of the UK. Yesterday morning, I had an excellent meeting with Joe Griffin, Head of the Drugs Policy Unit of the Scottish Government, and two of his colleagues. We talked a good deal about the Scottish drug strategy and their focus on recovery. It was a really refreshing discussion! 

Joe and his colleagues are fully aware of the big gap there is between having a strategy and implementing it - in a way that maximises chances of success as well. The Scottish Government has taken on a major challenge - a really exciting one - in breaking away from the standard approach that has been in operation in the UK in recent years. I was given quite a grilling about a variety of issues relevant to the recovery agenda and I was thrilled that I was being asked so many of the key questions. I was impressed. 
I then took a bus down to Melrose - an Abbey and a rugby ground, oh and some houses - which is in a lovely part of the country. A super bus trip. I had dinner with my daughter and her boyfriend, both who are doing a period of medical training at the local hospital.
I spent most of the next day at the LEAP project in Edinburgh. Good to catch up with David McCartney and his lead therapist Eddy Conroy, both who are great guys. I also met Annemarie Ward from the west coast of Scotland for the first time - we have emailed, phoned and skyped a great deal in the past months. I was really impressed by how easily the clients at LEAP all took to Annemarie - wish I had that charm. I chatted with a number of the aftercare clients and then attended a meeting with the treatment programme clients. It was all very moving, reminding me again how lucky I am to be working in this field. 
I ended up having a good chat with Eddy about the importance of community and related factors in recovery. It's always good to talk with someone so knowledgeable and passionate. 
Cannot wait to spend more time north of the border - and I have got a lot of food for thought. 
Have a good weekend all.


tim1leg said...

David it was lovely to finally meet you also in the flesh and thanks for you kind comments. What a buzz eh up at LEAP 32 people clean in 9 months I wonder if any other project in the uk could boast that, not that LEAP is doing any boasting, I am. Speaking to the guys and girls yesterday was amazing and to see their love of life and recovery is nothing short of miraculous. Cmoan the leap! Keep up the good work everyone, I at least am very proud of you all, and tanks to the team at WIRED for highlighting the projects nationally that are doing the do, rather than talking the talk.
Annemarie x

John Arthur said...

Hi Prof
I had the good fortune to visit the LEAP on Friday on one of their agency visit days and was as impressed as yourself and Annemarie appear to be. My organisation was very much in favour of this project but were a bit less sure of it being situated in the public sector due to lack of track record in this type of work. However I was wrong and through the the sheer enthusiasm of the staff and a programme based on evidence of need plus the growing body of evidence on the effectiveness of the methodology are compelling.
as ever there are good reasons for why this is successful and not least due to the earnestness and energy of the workers there. We look forward to the evaluation of into the project's effectiveness as we beleive that only treatments that can demonstrate effectiveness should be funded in the future. My only disappointment is that you didnt visit Crew 2000 whilst you were up in Sconnie Botland prof. there you would see a really good model of integrated services which covers, information and education, advice and support including routes into abstinence and recovery for those who require it. The Crew premises also host meetings of Cocaine Anonymous and a family support group. Drop in on your next visit if you have the time and we'll give you a brew and a guid scots welcome. All the best
John Arthur

David Clark said...

Pleased you liked LEAP and I agree, the evaluation will be interesting.
I would love to have visited but the other priority had to be Scot Gov and my daughter, who was doing a 6 week placement in a hospital outside Melrose. I will be up again as soon as I can (any excuse) but tied up with kiddies coming to stay first.
I really want to visit Crew 2000 and can't wait. Will be spending more time in your city and country in future.
Look forward to meeting you.