Parents and children both affected by substance misuse

Children and teenagers recognised too as perpetrators

A new report has identified parents as sufferers of abuse and violence from substance misusing children. The report by Adfam and Against Violence and Abuse (AVA) explores and documents Child to Parent Violence (CPV) and consulted with 88 parents seeking support from services.

Key findings from the research found:
  • Children as young as 11 and as old as 40 are physically, emotionally and/or mentally abusing their parents
  • There is a significant correlation between substance misuse and perpetrating domestic violence
  • 88% of victims of abuse were female and 12% were male
  • That abuses range from lower grade emotional manipulation to at the extreme end deaths.
  • Metropolitan Police Service records show that in 2009, 6 out of 7 non-partner/ex partner victims were mothers or fathers killed by sons – with substance misuse or mental health problems considered a key factor

The report makes recommendation including calls for better understanding of CPV, how to respond to requests for help and referral mechanisms are needed for front-line workers (such as police, social workers and GPs. It argues family support services are a cost effective resource, providing essential support to parents at a fraction of the cost that other health and social care services.

Children’s Commissioner re-iterates calls for protection of children

A new report from the Children’s Commissioner urges the Government to give as much attention to alcohol abuse among parents as to other drug misuse, and to train the relevant authorities to spot the signs of problem drinking in families earlier. See BBC report.

The Children’s Commissioner exists to promote the best interests of children and young people in England. It’s report suggest more than a fifth of all children in the UK, approximately 2.5 million, are living with a hazardous drinker (risky) drinker. The research also suggests 26,000 babies in England are living with a parent who is a dependent drinker, which is equivalent to 31,000 across the UK.

Change Drivers’ Perceptions of Law to Deter DUI

Cloverleaf  Saskatoon  Saskatchewan  Canada uid 1037033 University of Missouri Recommends Changing Drivers’ Perceptions of Law Enforcement to Deter Drinking and Driving

COLUMBIA, Mo., USA. – Recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that an estimated 2 million drunk drivers with three or more convictions will be on the roads this holiday season. In 2007, approximately 1,500 people nationwide were killed in crashes that involved a drunk driver from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day. Researchers from the University of Missouri and the University of Georgia found that the most important deterrence factors for high-risk drivers are their perceptions of the likelihood of being stopped or arrested and their support for deterrence laws.

All U.S. states have laws designed to deter impaired driving, but there is little evidence on what works to deter drivers who have a high risk of drinking and driving. The researchers found that the existence of laws, such as the .08 blood alcohol content and open container restrictions, affect only those less likely to drink and drive, and the actual number of impaired driving arrests in a state has no significant effect on drivers’ likelihood of drinking and driving.

"Essentially, law enforcement needs to focus on perceptions; it is important that drivers perceive that they will be caught if they drive impaired," said Lilliard Richardson, professor in the MU Truman School of Public Affairs. "We found that high-risk drivers are less likely to drink and drive if they perceive they are likely to be stopped or arrested by police. However, the mere existence of laws designed to discourage people from drinking and driving does not impact high-risk drivers. The results provide support for the value of high-visibility enforcement campaigns. Public safety education and media efforts are important components of the overall strategy for reducing impaired driving."

Previous studies have found conflicting evidence on the effectiveness of strategies that deter drinking and driving behavior. Richardson and Anthony Bertelli, associate professor of public administration and policy at the University of Georgia, assessed drinking and driving laws to determine if their enforcement influenced individuals’ likelihood of drinking and driving and if the impact was direct or through perception. The researchers measured the propensity to drink and drive of 6,000 respondents interviewed as part of NHTSA’s 2001 National Survey of Drinking and Driving Attitudes and Behavior. The measurements were used to assess the impact of perceptions of enforcement, actual enforcement levels and deterrence laws.

In the study, the majority of participants were less likely to drink and drive if they perceived a probability of being stopped or arrested by law enforcement. Individuals of different risk levels who agreed with the goals of deterrence laws, including sobriety checkpoints and open container laws, also were less likely to drive intoxicated.

"No single effort to reduce drinking and driving will be the most effective with all citizens, but state efforts designed to change enforcement perceptions and gain support of policy goals are most likely to influence a broad array of drivers," Richardson said.

The study, "The Behavioral Impact of Drinking and Driving Laws," was published in the December 2008 issue of the Policy Studies Journal.

Full story at; University of Missouri

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Alcohol Guidance for UK Doctors

Doctor drink mug of coffee in her office uid 1271749 UK Guidance for GP alcohol Directed Enhanced Service

A United Kingdom guidance document has been released to support the delivery of clinical directed enhanced services, alcohol being one of the five key health and service priorities.

The DES allows specific funding for GP’s to deliver Screening and Brief Interventions (SBIs) to newly registered patients. The DES’s began in April 2008 and are scheduled to run for 2 years backed by UK£50 million funding proposed earlier in the year, with an annual UK£8 million alcohol allocation.

According to the guidance, practices are required to screen newly registered patients using a shortened screening tool such as FAST. Those identified as positive will be given the full AUDIT test to determine if they are drinking at hazardous or harmful levels, and then offered the recommended intervention of 5 minutes brief advice in line with University of Newcastle’s primary care guidance ‘How Much is too much?’.

Dependant drinkers should be referred to local treatment services.

Full story at Alcohol Policy UK.

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England cricketers to get drink, drug and gambling counselling

english cricket England’s best cricketers, including the likes of Andrew Flintoff, are to be offered counselling to combat potential drink, drug and gambling addiction.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has decided that its international stars should all enrol on a course to protect them from such temptations.

It has been convinced by the Professional Cricketers’ Association (PCA) to put them on its Addictive Behaviour Programme.

The programme will help the top cricketers to “self-manage your own problem(s) and be able to focus on the challenges of playing cricket at the highest level”.

Although cricket has traditionally been above the sort of disreputable behaviour that has dogged other sports, concern has been raised in recent years at the antics of some members of the England team.

Full story at English Cricketers and Drinking

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Recovery Focused Approach to Tackling Drug Use in Scotland

Scots flag Recovery Focused Approach to Tackling Drug Use in Scotland

Scotland’s first national drugs strategy The Road to Recovery: A New Approach to Tackling Scotland’s Drug Problem was launched on May 29, 2008. The Government believes that preventing drug use is more effective than treating established drug problems and that treatment services in Scotland should be based on the principle of recovery.

The key priorities are:

  • better prevention of drug problems, with improved life chances for children and young people
  • more people recovering from problem drug use
  • communities that are safer and stronger places to live and work
  • ensuring that children affected by parental substance use are safer
  • improving the effectiveness of delivery at a national and local level

The Government’s vision for how drug treatment services in Scotland should be delivered is based on the principle that recovery should be the explicit aim of all services providing treatment and rehabilitation for people with problem drug use.

‘Recovery’ is the principle that people suffering from problem drug use should receive support which does more than just reduce the immediate risks and harms of addiction. Individuals become active participants in their own care, moving forward in the hope and belief that they will get better.

What do we mean by recovery?

We mean a process through which an individual is enabled to move on from their problem drug use, towards a drug-free life as an active and contributing member of society. Recovery is most effective when service users’ needs and aspirations are placed at the centre of their care and treatment. There is no right or wrong way to recover.

The Road to Recovery sets out the Government’s vision of recovery as an achievable goal for people with problem drug use and the actions it intends to carry out to promote a shared understanding of how to promote and support recovery. These include establishing and supporting a ‘recovery network’, building the capacity of services which can help services users choose the treatment that is right for them, and ensuring that the principles of recovery are reflected in the reform of delivery arrangements and in training and workforce development programmes.

Scots to Screen all Drinkers

Scots flag Scottish patients face quiz over drink habits at Last

A MULTIMILLION pound scheme has been launched to halt serious alcohol problems before they take hold in drinkers who are unaware they are exceeding safe limits.

Doctors, nurses and dentists across Scotland will be trained to quiz thousands of patients about their drinking habits and offer counselling to those breaching safe levels.

Women who regularly drink more than three units a day and men who drink more than five will be subjected to a ‘brief intervention’, where NHS staff will warn them about the dangers of alcohol, ask them to cut back on their drinking and tell them to return for a follow-up appointment.

Despite repeated attempts to highlight safe levels of alcohol, in Scotland there is still confusion about how much it is safe to drink. High on the list of people health officials want to reach are those who drink at home in the evening, after work and at weekends. They are unwittingly putting themselves at risk of a range of health problems, including high blood pressure and liver disease.

The move, part of an £85m three-year Scottish Government alcohol strategy, will see around one in six Scots ‘screened’ for their drinking habits during routine appointments with GP’s, dentists and nurses.

Full story at Scotland on Sunday

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Virtual Reality Can Aid Alcohol Treatment

Resist alcohol craving Computer’s train alcoholics to resist craving.

A new study shows that therapists can effectively use virtual-reality (VR) technology to stimulate alcohol craving in order to train patients in coping and resistance skills.

Researchers at the University of Houston led by Patrick Bordnick studied the use of a VR helmet to simulate a real-world environment where patients might be tempted to drink.

“As a therapist, I can tell you to pretend my office is a bar, and I can ask you to close your eyes and imagine the environment, but you’ll know that it’s not real,” Bordnick said. “In this virtual environment you are at a bar or at a party or in a real-life situation. What we found was that participants had real-life responses.”

In the 18-minute simulation, 40 patients were offered their drink of choice and instructed to rate their cravings using a game pad. “What we found was that the VR environments were real enough that their cravings were intensified. So, now we can develop coping skills, practice them in those very realistic environments until those skills are working tools for them to use in real life,” Bordnick said.

The VR scenarios included a bar, a house party, and a convenience store. In addition to video and sound, researchers used smell to enhance the VR experience.

The study results were published in the June 2008 issue of the journal Addictive Behaviors.

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Recovery will be key in new drugs strategy

Scotland piper Blogger’s note; Along with England there is a shift in policy focus for healthcare workers to be aware of their responsibilities and duties to all people including those who have alcohol or drug illnesses.

All agencies in Scotland, UK dealing with drug addiction and its underlying causes need to refocus their talents and energies on helping addicts into recovery, Minister for Community Safety Fergus Ewing said today.

Responding to the publication of the Scottish Advisory Committee on Drug Misuse (SACDM) Sub-Group’s ‘Essential Care’ Report, Mr Ewing confirmed that the path to recovery would be at the centre of Scotland’s new national drugs strategy which will be published before the summer.

The new report is published today as former Health Minister Susan Deacon chairs a conference in Glasgow looking at how the concept of ‘recovery’ might be applied to the field of drug addiction.

Mr Ewing said that the emerging focus on recovery represents ‘a real opportunity to put a strategy in place that commands widespread professional, political and public support’.

Some of the main findings of the SACDM Sub-Group’s Essential Care Report are:

  • There is a need for a major change in the philosophy of care for people with problem substance use in Scotland
  • Substance users are people with aspirations
  • Policy makers, commissioners and services need to consider how they can help them recover
  • Substance users have the right to the same quality of care as the rest of us

Mr Ewing said:

“The Essential Care report contains a number of welcome recommendations which are already being looked at as we develop our new drugs strategy.

“I believe we need to get better at encouraging each addict’s personal vision of recovery by reducing practical barriers to services, while giving people hope by acknowledging that recovery is achievable.

“I have met former addicts who tell me that the key to believing in your own recovery is ‘believing it can happen for you’ – being optimistic that you can recover. The concept of recovery represents a significant shift in thinking and has happened in the field of mental health – why shouldn’t people with drug problems believe they can recover too?

“That’s the question that all the agencies working to tackle drug misuse need to ask themselves. If the answer isn’t yet a straightforward ‘yes’ – then they need to challenge the approaches they are taking. We have a real opportunity to put a strategy in place that commands widespread professional, political and public support. I want us all to seize that opportunity.

“We will publish a new drugs strategy for Scotland before summer and its main focus will be recovery. It is essential that people experiencing drug problems have access to a range of wider services including employment, housing, and health that help them to move-on and rebuild their lives.”

The Scottish Government is organising this conference to provide an opportunity for discussion and debate about what recovery means for people with problem drug use in Scotland, to develop a shared understanding about how to promote and support recovery and discuss the implications of building up a Recovery Movement.

This approach has been used successfully in the mental health field for people with similarly complex needs and the conference will hear from Simon Bradstreet of the Scottish Recovery Network about what has been achieved. Turning Point Scotland, one of the biggest voluntary sector providers of drug services have been ‘learning as an organisation’ to put recovery at the forefront of their care, and will share their experience with delegates.

Above all, there will be input from people with personal experience of drug problems who are driving along their own recovery and who are showing it can be done.

The majority of the Essential Care report is concerned with the Essential Care that is needed to address problems in other areas of drug service users’ lives; their general health, their mental health and their social skills and relationships. It lists all the areas which may need attention, together with evidence of their benefits.

But the main conclusion is something more visionary. The report states that there needs to be a major change in the philosophy of care for problem substance use in Scotland – focused on the recovery of each individual and putting service users’ aspirations at the centre of care.

See Scotland Government

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Student Doctors in UK to be given Training in Alcohol Abuse

j0396132 Medics taught to spot drink abuse

Doctors are to be given special training to spot people who drink too much, the government has said.

It says that within three years, all medical schools in England will have alcohol training on the curriculum.

It comes after a leading doctor said people should be fined £100 for being drunk in public.

The government says there are around 10 million people in England who are causing themselves serious harm because of the amount they drink.

In all, 60,000 medical students will be trained over the next decade.

Full story at; BBC, Britain

Now its up to the rest of the world to follow suit.

There should be mandatory training for all nurses, psychologists, social workers, faith based workers, counsellors and teachers.

What do you think?