THE REHAB REVOLUTION CONTINUES:
CONCORDAT SUPPORT RISES UP
Since being featured in March, the Concordat of providers of classic full recovery has grown in numbers – and is strengthened by “The Graduates”: about 30,000 people in recovery who successfully graduated drug-free from their rehabs. We catch up as they work to help addicts access effective treatment.
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The coalition government’s first drug strategy: Reducing demand, restricting supply, building recovery: supporting people to live a drug-free life has two overarching aims: to reduce illicit and other harmful drug use, and to increase the numbers recovering from their dependence on drugs. “Supporting people to live a drug-free life is at the heart of our recovery ambition,” home secretary Theresa May explained at its launch.
Sadly, implementation has turned out to be very different. Rehabs have a proven track record in delivering classic, drug-free recovery as aimed for in the …drug-free life strategy, so could be the government’s greatest allies. However, of the 207,000 problem drug users under the National Treatment Agency regime, less than 4,000 were allowed to rehab – not even 2%. This number is congruent with those actually free of all drugs.
To help achieve the government’s policy aims, a rehab revolution arose in January with a blog and declaration signed by a unique union of half of England’s rehabs, organisations which have thousands of years’ experience between them in getting addicts drug free, as research proves most addicts want.
Going public. Previously, the Addiction Recovery Foundation, the charity which publishes Addiction Today, had to anonymise quotes from professionals due to the “punitive reprisals” they feared such as lost jobs, lost client referrals or lost grants. This time, for the first time, CEOs of rehabs went public.
Unprecedented collaboration. The rehabs met as one, convened by ARF CEO Deirdre Boyd and cofounder Lord Mancroft – with secretariat from the rehabs – to apply as one to participate in the “payment by results pathfinders” which the strategy intended to be templates for the country’s recovery from drugs and their attendant problems. With long and successful track records, it seemed logical that rehabs would be consulted – certainly included – in the plans. Instead, they had found themselves excluded, despite public statements to the contrary.
Officials under the NTA rejected the bid in favour of unproven pathways with no history of getting addicts drug free for the long term.
The Concordat as control group for payment by results. Concordat representatives met with Department of Health deputy drug and alcohol policy director Chris Heffer in Whitehall and offered to be a ‘control group’ whose outcomes could be compared to payment-by-results pilots. This dovetails with a desire by ministers. However, the Concordat emphasised that outcomes must be independently audited.
Campaigning for NICE to review CG51 Psychosocial guidelines. In a waste of money and extension of suffering, rationing-body Nice states that addicts must exhaust other options before being considered for rehab. Concordat members contributed to build a paper urging that this be reviewed. A review was due this year but Nice has rejected this lifesaving action.
The Concordat’s appeal was rejected so a Judicial Review and a Human Rights Act case are being considered.
Arguably all England’s 12-step rehabs plus others are members of the Concordat. With a unified core treatment ethos, the abstinence-based full-recovery treatment providers can deliver over 1,000 treatment beds at any moment and offer the seamless path of care desired in the drug strategy from detox, through proven treatments, to reintegrating into the community drug free and with new life skills, housing and employment.
All-Party Parliamentary Drugs Misuse Group: 1. Members of the Concordat gave ‘on the ground’ facts about strategy implementation failures to then-drugs minister James Brokenshire. The information was relayed to officials.
All-Party Parliamentary Drugs Misuse Group: 2. In June, Concordat members updated health minister Anne Milton face to face. This meeting was to launch the NTA and National Addiction Centre Addiction to Medicine reports – but evidence from the Concordat and others led to DoH press releases about them being pulled due to the help-denying inaccuracies revealed.
Building recovery in communities. The Concordat worked together to offer a joint as well as individual responses to this consultation.
Residential rehab briefing paper. The Concordat pooled information and expertise to create the UK’s most authoritative and definitive guide to rehabs.
Leading think-tank quotes Concordat. The media headlined a Centre for Policy Studies paper in June by Kathy Gyngell, author of the 400-page Addictions chapter of Breakthrough Britain which kickstarted current policy – citing the Concordat's briefing paper.