"It seems Blackpool CDT are equating recovery with abstinence "

About: Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust / Addiction services

(as the patient),

Since the word "recovery" became popular it seems Blackpool CDT/DSP are equating it with abstinence.

Some people may wish to ultimately achieve abstinence, others may not.

In my view, patients on longer term methadone or suboxone treatments are being pressured and bullied into starting to reduce the level of medication they take so the CDT/DSP figures of people leaving treatment "drug free" increase.

I feel this is helping no-one. If people feel forced into tapering/detoxing when they are not really ready but feel they have to say yes as the doctor and/or keyworkers are pressuring them will ultimately return to using illicit drugs.

I do agree that patients should be motivated and encouraged and given the full support of the CDT/DSP to help them detox/taper from methadone or suboxone, but it seems that in substance misuse treatment currently, there is a very fine line between encouragement and enforcement.

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Response from Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust

Within Blackpool there has been a commissioner-led redesign of the treatment system following an extensive consultation exercise involving service users of all the current drug and alcohol treatment and support providers. During the consultation, the majority of clients who commented were clear that they wanted to achieve abstinence, but it was also recognised that there were some individuals who did not want this, and the option to remain on long term Methadone maintenance has been incorporated into the treatment model.

A collaborative partnership has been formed to deliver an integrated response to the needs of those in the town affected by addiction.

Whilst the recovery movement and the primary aim of recovery from dependence is driving this system change, there is an understanding and an acceptance that for some people, who were brought into treatment historically under the philosophy of harm reduction through Methadone maintenance, this will be a major challenge.

People enter treatment for various reasons; some to seek recovery, some to seek respite from chaos and criminality, some because they have been compelled to do so by the criminal justice system. Everyone is different, and all have their own particular needs and wants from treatment. Our aim is to encourage the pursuit of recovery in those who can follow that pathway and to support those who are not yet ready, until such time as they are able to move forward.

National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Policy supports those treatment systems that both recruit and retain problem substance users in effective treatment and which achieve the best outcomes, including the achievement of sustained abstinence, social integration and reduced drug-related crime. Consequently, all our clients will be challenged from time to time during the treatment journey to consider the pursuit of recovery, which may include abstinence, but nobody will be forced down that road as we understand that this is likely to be counter-productive. If the client is simply not able to take that step, they will not be coerced into taking it.

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