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.
You can also read Dr. NIDA’s answers to the most frequently asked questions about drugs and drug abuse here:
Anabolic Steroids—Hand out this “damage diagram” activity and help kids understand the big picture about steroids’ side effects.
Brain & Addiction—Try this activity to get the brain going and the discussion flowing.
Ecstasy—Find out how much your students know or don’t know about ecstasy. Have them try this quiz.
HIV, AIDS, and Drug Abuse—Teach your children/students the connection between drugs and HIV infection.
Marijuana—A friend on “weed” is a friend in need-of your kids’ knowledge. Download and discuss this letter-writing activity.
Nicotine—Try this matching activity in class to help kids understand nicotine’s causes and effects.
Mind Over Matter—This series is designed to encourage young people in grades five through nine to learn about the effects of drug abuse on the body and the brain.
Mind Over Matter Teacher’s Guide—Use this Teacher’s Guide in conjunction with the Mind Over Matter magazine series to promote an understanding of the physical reality of drug use, as well as curiosity about neuroscience.
Full list of resources at; NIDA Drug Abuse and Addiction for Parents and Teachers
This is an extract from an article by the Royal College of Psychiatrists
In healthcare, spirituality is identified with experiencing a deep-seated sense of meaning and purpose in life, together with a sense of belonging. It is about acceptance, integration and wholeness.
According to one definition,
“The spiritual dimension tries to be in harmony with the universe, strives for answers about the infinite, and comes especially into focus in times of emotional stress, physical and mental illness, loss, bereavement and death.” This desire for wholeness of being is not an intellectual attainment, for it is no less present in people with learning disability, but lies in the essence of what it means to be human.
From the spiritual perspective, a distinction can be made between cure, or relief of symptoms, and healing of the whole person. Life is a perpetual journey of discovery and development, during which maturity is often gained through adversity. The relief of suffering remains a primary aim of health care, but it is by no means the whole story.
How is spirituality distinguished from religion?
Spirituality, described as “linking the deeply personal with the universal”, is inclusive and unifying. It naturally leads to the recognition that to harm another is to harm oneself, and equally that helping others is to help oneself. It applies to everyone, including those who do not believe in God or a ‘higher being’.
The universality of spirituality extends across creed and culture; at the same time spirituality is felt as unique to each and every person.
Religions offer community-based worship, each faith having its own set of beliefs and sacred traditions. However, when there is a lack of respect for differences of belief, religion has been used as a social and political tool leading to intolerance and divisiveness.
These span a wide range, from the religious to secular:
- belonging to a faith tradition, participating in associated community-based activities;
- ritual and symbolic practices and other forms of worship;
- pilgrimage and retreats;
- meditation and prayer;
- reading scripture;
- sacred music (listening to, singing and playing) including songs, hymns, psalms and devotional chants;
- acts of compassion (including work, especially teamwork);
- deep reflection (contemplation);
- yoga, Tai Chi and similar disciplined practices;
- engaging with and enjoying nature;
- contemplative reading (of literature, poetry, philosophy etc.);
- appreciation of the arts and engaging in creative activities, including artistic pursuits, cookery, gardening etc.;
- maintaining stable family relationships and friendships (especially those involving high levels of trust and intimacy);
- group or team sports, recreational or other activity involving a special quality of fellowship.
Healthcare spiritual values and skills
Spiritual practices foster an awareness that serves to identify and promote values such as
- hope and
- joy, all of which support good health care practice.
Healthcare spiritual skills include:
- being self-reflective and honest;
- being able to remain focused in the present, remaining alert, unhurried and attentive;
- being able to rest, relax and create a still, peaceful state of mind;
- developing greater empathy for others;
- finding courage to witness and endure distress while sustaining an attitude of hope;
- developing improved discernment, for example about when to speak or act and when to remain silent;
- learning how to give without feeling drained;
- being able to grieve and let go.
Spirituality is a deeply personal matter.
People are encouraged to discover ‘what works best for you’. A routine daily practice involving three elements can be helpful:
- regular quiet time (for prayer, reflection or meditation);
- appropriate study of religious and/or spiritual material;
- engaging in supportive friendships with others sharing similar spiritual and/or religious aims and aspirations.
It is possible to find advice about spiritual practices and traditions through the resources of a wide range of religious organisations.
Secular spiritual activities are increasingly available and popular too. For example, many complementary therapies have a spiritual or holistic element that is not defined by any particular religion.
The internet, especially internet bookshops, the local yellow pages, health food shops and bookstores are all good places to look.
Full article at; Royal College of Psychiatrists
I am a recovering addict. I, along with many, many others who have at one time been through the ‘harm reduction’ method, found that it only brought us right back to our ‘drug of choice’. The only way for millions of addicts/alcoholics around the world to begin to cope with underlying issues in their lives has been to abstain altogether.
There are many of us that abstain, take anti-depressants or other psychotropic medications. However, these, along with therapy, counselling, 12-step programs and utilising the work it takes to realise we either change everything or die, have been able to remain drug/alcohol free, live very peaceful lives and regained our places in society.
We are moving forward regardless of our ages, criminal backgrounds, etc.
We have become productive members of society who live our lives to the fullest.
As a recovering addict, I have tried the ‘harm reduction’ method and I found out that because I am an addict, I will be addicted to anything which makes me feel good, no matter what the physical harm may be to myself or others.
Thank you for allowing me to share what America, Australia and other countries have tried and ultimately failed with.
Now we use abstinence in our treatment facilities and we go on to treat other disorders as they seem to show themselves, after the addict/alcoholic gets clean and sober.
This seems to be the only method that has worked for us, and I suppose that an addict/alcoholic have the same general characteristics all over the world.
This is only what this country has learned in all of its experimenting ways in making the addict/alcoholic a stable person in society.
Acupuncture has even been used to help those of us who have the more outstanding cravings and it has seemed to work for hundreds of thousands of addicts in this country to remove that awful obsession and craving which keeps us from actually experiencing true freedom from the bondage of the drugs/alcohol.
This is meant to let others know that abstinence has been proven to work wonders when everything else has so far failed.
Name and address supplied
“It’s amazing that persons dependent on drugs seek and continue to accept help of any kind; it’s a reflection of truly extraordinary motivation. But who could possibly be surprised that, when asked, they express a preference for achieving and maintaining abstinence?”
New research proves that abstinence from alcohol is the best choice for alcoholics.
The researchers interviewed 1,700 alcohol abusers after 3 years of initial contact and found that;
- 51% of heavy drinkers who were experiencing alcohol related problems continued to have problems after the 3 years,
- 27% of those who had moderated their drinking habits still had problems, and
- 7.3% of those who were abstaining from alcohol at their first interview had developed problems caused by drinking alcohol after 3 years.
They reported that the risk of developing alcohol related problems when compared to abstainers were;
- 14.6 times for alcohol abusers, and
- 6.0 times for low volume drinkers
The proportion of these 1,700 people who developed alcohol dependence / alcoholism was;
- 10.2%, for heavy drinkers
- 4.0%, for low-risk drinkers and
- 2.9%, for abstainers
The researchers conclusions: Abstinence represents the most stable form of resolution for most recovering alcoholics.
Over the past 65 years healthcare workers have been trying out many types of counseling and helping plans for alcohol abuse. One action program has stood out as being consistently successful in getting alcoholics into recovery.
This program has now been refined so that anyone can help. This plan, called Brief-TSF, can be learnt and optimized by anyone in a few hours. You quickly become a sophisticated helper.
The training leads you through the processes of helping the alcoholic identify alcohol related problems for themselves. This process disturbs alcoholic denial and motivates the person to want to take action.
Motivation and Action Plan
But, more than motivation is needed. The alcoholic needs to know what to do and also support to carry out an action plan. Brief-TSF includes sections on all of these.
The action plan includes putting the alcoholic in touch with other recovering people immediately they make a decision that they have a real problem.
Family and Friends of Alcoholics
The Brief-TSF interview may also be applied to family and friends who may be suffering from the effects of a loved ones drinking. They too need a workable action plan. The Brief-TSF interview training includes section about loved ones, children and friends of alcoholics.
Compassion and Empathy
You can help when the alcoholic is hurting! You already suspect the person has a drinking problem. Brief-TSF will help you decide. Training before the next window of opportunity occurs is essential.