The ‘New Recovery’ movement in Victoria

The first guest article published to Stonetree offers an insight into an anonymous Melbourne based AOD worker’s very frank reflections regarding the evolving recovery discourse in Victoria.  While some may regard this article as divisive, I think it is highly representative of the confusion and concern in relation to the current discourse here, and presents an opportunityto engender  frank, yet respectful discussion.  A very big thank you goes out to Anonymous AOD Worker for submitting this article.

The New Recovery Movement in Victoria

In the interests of full(ish) disclosure (I am hiding behind a pseudonym after all), I have no authority on the topic of Recovery or the ‘New Recovery’ movement.  I am not in recovery myself, have had little direct contact with the movement and have been, at best, a casual observer of its increasing influence in recent years. Until a few weeks ago, my views about Recovery and the new movement have been entirely shaped by the opinions of colleagues with a more sustained interest in the topic and, more directly, by conversations (in therapeutic and research roles) with people who have included mutual aid groups as part of their own support networks.

My recent interest in the movement has been driven by the commencement of a concerted campaign to promote New Recovery as the new paradigm for addressing alcohol and other drug (AOD) related concerns inAustralia, following the lead of developments in theUSAandUK.

Understandably, this has drawn a range of responses from those within the Australian AOD sector, many of which have been reflected in a recent draft ANEX discussion paper.  It has been in the context of helping to draft a response to this paper by the agency I work for that I have begun to pay closer attention to New Recovery and to try to understand the core differences between its approach and those currently in place underAustralia’s Harm Minimisation framework.

To try to get a handle on what all the fuss is about, I’ve studied the work of people such as Stephen Bamber, William White and David Best and spoken to a range of people who know more about Recovery than me (and that’s just about everyone, including the distinguished Mr Stonetree).  As a result, I’m left feeling pretty confused and more than a little concerned.

Before any of you start wheeling out what seems to be the default defence against criticism of the movement, my concern is not driven by self-interest and my desire to keep myself in a paid position within the publicly funded AOD treatment sector.  If there is clear evidence that the Harm Minimisation approach is ineffective and needs to be replaced by a new model that does not need me in it, I am quite happy to find another job, in a different sector, where I’d most likely be getting paid more than at present.

The problem I have is that there is no clear evidence.  In spite of the intuitive appeal of the New Recovery discourse, the weight of local and international research evidence is overwhelmingly on the side of Harm Minimisation as an overarching approach to keeping people alive and creating opportunities for immediate and long-term behavioural change.  The apparent refusal of key New Recovery advocates to address the full implications of this for their position, while continuing to present New Recovery as a panacea for the world’s AOD problems, is one of the things I find most disturbing about the current debate.

The growing sense of unease I felt as I started my reading crystalised around a couple of revelations from William White in his Dialogue with Stephen Bamber on ‘Recovery-Oriented Methadone Maintenance’.  Within what is a brave and thoughtful account of White’s change of position on the value of methadone maintenance, he drops a couple of bombshells that left me stunned.

For those of you who are already familiar with the monograph, they may not appear so sensational in their implications but, for me, as a Recovery noob, their impact has made an indelible mark.

In describing the evolution of his position, White describes his early attitude of, ‘great animosity toward methadone as a result of my enculturation in drug-free therapeutic communities’ (p4).  He goes on to describe how this attitude started to change:

“when I went back to school and was forced to review the scientific evaluation of MM, but even at that stage [my attitude] could be depicted as a begrudging intellectual acceptance of the value of MM for some people.  In my gut, I still had deep reservations about MM.”

He reports only coming to accept methadone maintenance as a legitimate Recovery support on hearing the stories of many people who had successfully combined it with New Recovery principles to achieve long-term changes.

As a story of an individual’s personal growth, it is a good one and powerfully told.  What caused my jaw to drop was White’s comment that, after 40 years of working in the addiction treatment field:

“The biggest surprise I had in researching the history of MM is that its scientific effectiveness had been established in spite of the absence of important recovery support ingredients as MM was mainstreamed in the US and internationally.” (p5)

I’m still not sure what shocked me more about White’s account, the fact that someone who had been involved in AOD treatment for so long could remain so ignorant of one of the largest and most established bodies of research in the field or that one of the New Recovery movement’s more progressive thinkers is still so blinkered in his thinking that he appears unable to conceive of the possibility of effective treatment outcomes outside the New Recovery paradigm.

This is the issue that I find the most troubling about the New Recovery discourse: the unquestioning assumption of Recovery’s primacy, regardless of considerable evidence to the contrary.  The messianic fervour that runs throughout this discourse – that New Recovery is the true AOD saviour and that all other approaches should repent their sins and bow down before it – reflects what appears to be a strong anti-intellectual, heart-over-head, ‘gut’-based pseudo-spiritualism that is at best, uninformed and, at worst, downright dangerous if enthroned as the sole basis for public AOD policy.

My distrust is not of Recovery principles (apart from the insistence on abstinence as the ultimate goal for all people using AOD), but with the ‘movement’.  Not the movement as a whole, but the concept of New Recovery as a unified voice and, in particular, those proselytes who claim to channel it.

There is much more in common between the New Recovery and Harm Minimisation philosophies than there is difference.  Both have essential contributions to make in the overall effort to reduce the burdens borne by individuals, families and the wider community as a result of AOD use.  Through frank and open discussion, both can have positive influences on the other and foster the development of a truly integrated framework of mutually reinforcing approaches that are evidence-based, consistent with people’s lived experiences and, most importantly, effective.

What I have seen and heard from the movement to date is neither frank nor open.  It seeks to reassure and be all things to all people, when it clearly is not.  It seems unaware of its blind spots and becomes dismissive, evasive or combative when probed on them and that makes me nervous.

I have other concerns, (such as the apparent irrelevance of New Recovery for the great majority of people who use AOD and don’t identify as having a significant problem), but I’ve probably been banging on for long enough already.  I’m happy to be proven wrong, or labelled a Harm Reduction Henny Penny, but my head, and my gut, tell me I’m onto something.

For me, the greatest hope for real progress comes from people like Neil Hunt, who prioritise the recognition of people’s individual needs and the provision of holistic supports (incorporating both Harm Reduction and Recovery approaches) to achieve real and sustainable outcomes.

Perhaps as he suggests, the terms Harm Reduction and Recovery are both redundant.  and what we need is to focus less on fighting over labels and territory and more on providing effective supports that help people make the changes they want.

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Comments
14 Responses to “The ‘New Recovery’ movement in Victoria”
  1. anonymous says:

    Dear Harm Reduction Henny Penny,

    Just curious, are you aware that methadone maintenance, is NOT a harm reduction strategy. Ritter and Cameron in 2005, in ‘A Systematic Review of Harm Reduction’ (Drug Policy Modelling Project MONOGRAPH 06; Turning Point), removed activities such as methadone maintenance therapy from this modelling. They found under the definition of harm reduction strategies those such as as methadone replacement therapy would not be included, as it’s has as it’s primary aim, the reduction of ‘drug’ use. This narrows the strategies that can be truly termed harm reduction strategies. The specific harm reduction strategies are, needle and syringe exchange program NSP, supervised infecting facilities, non-injecting routes of administration, outreach, education and information, brief interventions, overdose prevention interventions and lastly legal and regulatory frameworks. In trying to push harm min (not harm reduction) people want to jump on the evidence of MM, the best you could do as I can see it, is try to put MM under a demand reduction strategy.
    Henny Penny, I think you do get to the point after some brow beating, the aim is for our clients, and really these 2 approaches are far more similar than they are opposite. I do think the government is very clever in keeping this debate going, because as long as we bicker among ourselves, rather than trying to find ways to unite, they government is happily chopping away at services, and the only losers are those with the least to loose, those in need of recovery, for what we fail to see is that harm min does fail some, and whilst recovery is happy to care for all those wanting it, harm min is only just coming to be able to utter the words abstinence and for too long has neglected the needs of those wanting more than to just continue to use drugs ‘safely’.

    Just as anonymous

  2. Web Servant says:

    Dear Anonymous AOD Worker,

    I totally agree with your comment that:

    “There is much more in common between the New Recovery and Harm Minimisation philosophies than there is difference. Both have essential contributions to make in the overall effort to reduce the burdens borne by individuals, families and the wider community as a result of AOD use. Through frank and open discussion, both can have positive influences on the other and foster the development of a truly integrated framework of mutually reinforcing approaches that are evidence-based, consistent with people’s lived experiences and, most importantly, effective.”

    What I object to is your characterisation of the recovery side of the debate in Victoria as being ‘unquestioning messianic’ assertions of primacy over the existing Harm Minimisation framework. I have not seen that argument made by any genuine recovery advocates in this country so far.

    What I have seen are attempts to position recovery principles within the Harm Minimisation framework as under the pillar of Demand Reduction and as building on the benefits and successes of Harm Reduction. But again these arguments are dismissed as disingenuous attempts to ‘reassure and be all things to all people, when it clearly is not’.

    Also attempts to describe recovery principles as being compatible and complimentary with harm reduction principles have also been met with suspicious and sceptical statements such found in the concluding statement of the Anex discussion paper – “Some prominent new recovery leaders purportedly support the mutual complementarity of harm reduction and recovery programs. However, new recovery has rarely championed harm reduction programs.” and so therefore New Recovery in fact threatens Harm Minimisation and lives.

    It is hard to see such statements as intending to do anything other than polarise recovery and harm reduction advocates from each other.

    Frankly, the message to those who see recovery as compatible with harm reduction seems to be “We don’t believe you and we don’t trust you.” It is very hard to engage in any debate when your integrity is being questioned and so is really so surprising that some recovery advocates in Victoria have recently chosen to step away from the debate?

    You say you want a frank and respectful debate.

    How does it foster a climate of respectful debate to refer to people who are trying in good faith to engage as ‘proselytes’ and use such denigrating descriptions of the arguments made for recovery principles such as “anti-intellectual, heart-over-head, ‘gut’-based pseudo-spiritualism”. It would be good if you could share some examples of arguments made recently that fit this description.

    The liberal use of the metaphor of religious evangelism may be entertaining but it does not suggest an attitude of respect and I cannot see how it creates an atmosphere for constructive dialogue.

    Personally see real opportunities in what New Recovery has to offer in terms of revitalising the AOD sector with ideas, energy and (re)engagement with policy makers and the public. AND I see the potential dangers of hijacking by those who see it as a vehicle for their own agendas, especially given the likelihood of a change of government in Canberra.

    It was heartening to see Harm Reduction AND Recovery advocates in the UK jointly challenging the UK governments ham-fisted undermining of the self-determination that lies of the heart of real recovery and I would love to see the same kind of co-operation and collaboration in Australia against the same thing happening but unfortunately that seems unlikely given the hostile response so far. The sector faces far great challenges than the bogey-man of new recovery.

    I’m all for ‘frank and respectful’ debate but first and foremost that requires a modicum of … just that … respect. And I’m sorry but the tone of this opening article doesn’t quite cut it on the respect factor.

    To finish off I couldn’t agree more with Neil Hunt’s approach and if the term ‘Recovery’ really is so irrecoverably offensive to people then ‘Development’ might be an alternative term that could take the heat out of what I agree is a futile fight over words.

  3. Web Servant says:

    Dear Anonymous,

    I totally agree with your comment that

    “There is much more in common between the New Recovery and Harm Minimisation philosophies than there is difference. Both have essential contributions to make in the overall effort to reduce the burdens borne by individuals, families and the wider community as a result of AOD use. Through frank and open discussion, both can have positive influences on the other and foster the development of a truly integrated framework of mutually reinforcing approaches that are evidence-based, consistent with people’s lived experiences and, most importantly, effective.”

    What I object to is the characterisation of the recovery side of the debate in Victroia so far as being ‘unquestioning messianic’ assertions of primacy over the existing Harm Minimisation framework.I have not seen that arguement made by any genuine recovery advocates in this country so far.

    What I have seen is attempts to position recovery principles within the Harm Minimisation framework as relevant to pillar of Demand Reduction and as building on the benefits and successes of Harm Reduction. But again these arguements are dismised as disingenous attempts to ‘reassure and be all things to all people, when it clearly is not’.

    Also attempts to describe recovery principles as being compatible and complimentary with harm reduction principles have also been met with suspicious and skeptical statements such found in the concluding statement of the Anex discussion paper – ” Some prominent new recovery leaders purportedly support the mutual complementarity of harm reduction and recovery programs. However, new recovery has rarely championed harm reduction programs.” and so therefore new recovery in fact threatens Harm Minimisation and lives. It is hard to see such statements as intending to do anything other than polarise recovery and harm reduction advocates from each other.

    Frankly, the message to those who see recovery as compatible with harm reduction seems to be “We don’t believe you and we don’t trust you.” It is very hard to engage in any debate when your integrity is being questioned and so is really so surprising that some recovery advocates in Victoria have recently chosen to step away from the debate?

    You say you want a frank and respectful debate.

    How does it foster a climate of respectful debate to refer to people who are trying in good faith to engage as ‘proselytes’ and use such denigrating descriptions of the arguments made for recovery principles such as “anti-intellectual, heart-over-head, ‘gut’-based pseudo-spiritualism”. It would be good if you could share some examples of arguements made recently that fit this description.

    The liberal use of the metaphor of religious evangelism may be entertaining (happy clappers, ‘doing God’s work’) but it does not suggest an attitude of respect and I can not see how it creates an atmosphere for constructive dialogue.

    Personally see real opportunities in what New Recovery has to offer in terms of revitalising the AOD sector with ideas, energy and (re)engagement with policy makers and the public AND I am open enough to see the potential dangers of hijacking by those who see it as a vehicle for their own agendas, especially given the liklihood of a change of governement in Canberra. It was heartening to see Harm Reduction AND Recovery advocates in the UK jointly challenging the UK governments hamfisted undermining of the self-determination that lies of the heart of real recovery and I would love to see the same kind of co-operation and collaboration in Australia against the same thing happening but unfortunantly that seems unlikely given the hostile responce so far. The sector faces far great challenges than the bogey-man of recovery.

    I’m all for ‘frank and respectful’ debate but first and foremost that requires a modicum of … just that … respect. And I’m sorry but the tone of this opening article doesnt quite cut the mustard on the respect factor.

    To finish off I couldn’t agree more with Neil Hunt’s approach and if the term ‘Recovery’ really is so irrecoverabily offensive to people then ‘Development’ might be an alternative term that could take the heat out of what I agree is a futile fight over words.

    • stonetreeaus says:

      Hi Web Servant,

      I am currently working on a paper that will be released in coming weeks that canvasses many of the issues that you have broached in your comments. In the meantime I wanted to quickly acknowledge your last point about the terms or labels used in relation to “Recovery’. The term comes a long history both in the mental health and AOD sectors with very different meanings. I think one of the issues is that without a very clear consensus of what the term means confusion will remain. While there has been great work done in the UK and US through the use of consensus groups to reach this point, there are still issues with how Recovery is presented. This in part has been due to subversion by particular interest groups outside of both harm reduction and recovery advocates. The recent UK Home Office Paper that you mentioned is a great example of this as I pointed out in an earlier article: https://stonetreeaus.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/full-recovery-a-flawed-policy/

      I agree that there a number of recovery advocates who wish to position recovery in demand reduction however there have been advocates who hold positions that are contrary to the evidence base supporting harm reduction. The seeming reluctance among some, and the absolute opposition by others within the recovery movement to the use of methadone as a viable and well evidenced tool supporting harm reduction is one such example of this.

      I invite Anonymous AOD worker to add further comment, but in the meantime I will continue to encourage dialogue about these issues. I would lastly say that any major change to how we approach alcohol and other drugs issues in our communities will be faced with intense scrutiny, challenges and criticism. This has been the experience when new harm reduction initiaitves have been introduced (e.g. the introduction of NSP or the supervised injecting centre) and while this may be frustrating it is also necessary, as it forces us to seek evidence for our position:

      “It could be argued that one of the consequences of a continuing resistance to harm reduction strategies and programmes is that such strategies have come under far greater scrutiny than other forms of alcohol and other drug intervention. Needle and syringe programs in Australia have undergone two major economic evaluations nationally in the past decade, testing their economic viability, methadone as an opiate substitution therapy is one of the most well researched and evidenced pharmacotherapies utilised in drug treatment and the medically supervised injecting centre in Sydney has operated under a trial status for over a decade. “

      Source: https://stonetreeaus.wordpress.com/2011/06/24/a-case-against-the-argument-that-harm-reduction-strategies-are-costly-and-encourage-people-to-use-drugs/

      Regards

      Matt Gleeson, Stonetree Harm Reduction

  4. stonetreeaus says:

    Anonymous AOD worker passed on their response to your comments via email and I have posted it here on their behalf.

    Firstly, thanks to Just as Anonymous and Web Servant for taking the time to critique my work. This is my first foray into the blogosphere, so I’ve been surprised by the level of interest shown so far. It probably helps having Stonetree as a platform.

    Secondly, I agree with everything Matt has said in his own responses to your comments, so I won’t cover that ground. Getting the original piece out was quite a difficult birth, so I’ll keep this one brief and just respond to some of the most pointed criticisms:

    Harm Min doesn’t do abstinence

    Sorry, I said I wouldn’t recover Matt’s ground, but I had to say something about this. I have never encountered a treatment service in Australia that does not recognise that the most effective way to prevent AOD harms is not to use. Like Stephen Bamber says, abstinence is the ‘gold standard’ ( http://injectingadvice.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=174:stephenbamber1&catid=32:guests&Itemid=50 ) of harm reduction. Most people seeking AOD treatment (particularly those of a certain age who have realised that they can’t keep going like they have been) recognise that, for them, abstinence (even if only from their drug of choice) is probably the way to go. All the treatment services I have seen support this position and help people develop the internal resources and support networks to give them the best chance of achieving it.

    For me, the key thing to remember is that people in AOD treatment are only a small minority of all AOD users. For the majority, abstinence is irrelevant, although recent initiatives such as Hello Sunday Morning ( http://hellosundaymorning.com.au/ ) have shown how temporary abstinence can be an effective tool in motivating longer term changes in behaviour. As with any other treatment goal, abstinence must be an informed choice, not an imposition.

    Inflammatory language doesn’t help frank and respectful debate

    Good call WS. You’re right and I’m sorry. On reflection, some of the language I used was not respectful and I apologise to anyone I’ve offended. As you probably noticed when reading the original piece, I was responding at an emotional (as well as rational) level. Occasionally, emotion got the upper hand.

    I still stand by my original arguments, but I will try to keep a lid on the flowery language in future (if Matt ever lets me anywhere near Stonetree again).

    Recovery has plenty to offer

    I agree and I think the AOD sector recognised this a long time ago. The service where I work has strong connections with mutual aid groups and has achieved some pretty significant progress in areas like consumer participation and holistic responses to people’s needs.

    I think one of the main difficulties with the debate in Victoria up to this point has been that, while individual Recovery advocates have gone out of their way to emphasise the compatability of Harm Reduction and Recovery as different aspects of the same continuum, they are only speaking from a personal standpoint. As reasonable and persuasive as individual advocates may be, the decentralised nature of the Recovery movement (and its history of hotly disputed principles) reduces their authority.

    Given the movement’s principles, this is just as it should be, but it does appear to leave a vaccum at the centre of Recovery-oriented policy discussions. It’s this vacuum that worries people like me who see it as leaving opportunities for Recovery (and Harm Min) principles to be undermined by particular philosophical or political agendas. Putting Full Recovery First (https://stonetreeaus.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/full-recovery-a-flawed-policy/ ) is a good example of what can happen and I wouldn’t want to see it happen here. I don’t think any of us would.

    That said, bring on the debate!

    • Web Servant says:

      Thank you for that gracious response Anonymous AOD worker, I don’t disagree with anything you have to say here.

      Passions are high at the moment and personally I regret that some critics of recovery have had their motives questioned with respect to the potential for job losses that might arise from a recovery re-oriented treatment sector, that is really unhelpful. I also have let emotions at times get the better of my arguments at times and regreted the lack of a recall button on my email program.

      Email is poor forum for dialogue as it is easy to slip into the adversarial, tabloid games of gotcha that pervades the media and politics in this country. I do understand, and understand better after conversations with our diplomatic host here at Stonetree, that there are genuinely heartfelt concerns about the recovery debate so far and what it means for Harm Reduction.
      I fully appreciate how hard people have fought for Harm Reduction in this country and the remarkable successes they have achieved, under a relentless barrage of criticism and suspicion that continues to this day and perhaps it is understandable that a new movement that has not explained its position (or I should say has had the chance to formulate its position being so new) is regarded with unease.

      With respect to your statement that ‘one of the main difficulties with the debate in Victoria up to this point has been that, while individual recovery advocates have gone out of their way to emphasise the compatability of Harm Reduction and Recovery as different aspects of the same continuum, they are only speaking from a personal standpoint ‘ … ‘which appears … ‘to leave a vacuum at the centre of Recovery-oriented policy discussions. It’s this vacuum that worries people like me who see it as leaving opportunities for Recovery (and Harm Min) principles to be undermined by particular philosophical or political agendas.’

      I totally and wholeheartedly agree!

      Right from the start of this debate, I have pointed to the risk of the rhetoric of Recovery being hijacked by genuinely anti-Harm Reduction/Zero Tolerance advocates such as Drug Free Australia who are greedily seeking to co-opt the language of recovery. When I mention this to people in the sector, I often get the response that they are fools, clowns and shit- stirrers and no-one takes them seriously. They may be fools but no-one should doubt that groups like these very much have the ear of our next federal government. I’ve had discussions/debates with recovery sceptics in the UK and apparently the DF franchise has been very active behind the scenes in London. If they were to get their way in this country with a government that, unlike the UK, does not have the brakes of centre/left coalition partner or a vocal recovery movement that is willing to collaborate and advocate with the local harm reduction movement and user groups, it would be disastrous for both harm reduction and recovery in this country and for everyone who is concerned for the welfare of drug users whether they be seeking recovery or not.

      I certainly do not put myself forward as the voice of Recovery in Australia, no one person can and I don’t think any one person is claiming to. I know that a few advocate’s belief and assurances in the compatibility of recovery and harm reduction (or any other aspect of drug policy and practice) does not necessarily make it so, and people who have doubts and concerns about ‘New Recovery’ have the right to speak and be heard without their motives or integrity being questioned.

      I agree there is a vacuum and territory which is up for grabs and there is an urgent need to cement a middle ground i.e. the argument for compatibility. Which is why I and others am trying hard to build bridges with harm reduction advocates and why it is so disappointing when these efforts are met (from some, not all) with accusations of duplicity and insincerity.

      If people agree there is an overlap of principles and opportunities for synergy why is it that we narrow in on those inevitable points of tensions to the exclusion of all else and therefore declare that recovery and harm reduction are incompatible and one must inevitably yield to the other. This is DFA’s wet dream, they must be delighted with the way the sector seems hell bent on tearing its self apart. Whether the recovery movement in Australia develops in a direction that is friendly towards harm reduction or hostile or indifferent, will partially be determined by the way it is received.

      I am not a spokesman for the Recovery Academy Australia, but I do know that they are working on a statement of what it hopes for the Recovery movement here in Australia and how it sees Recovery fitting into the existing landscape. The Recovery Academy has only recently been founded and has been no better resourced, organised (or led) than any other recovery organisation has historically been, and maybe strategic mistakes have been made in term of provoking a debate before being properly ready to engage it. That said few of us expected the nature and intensity of the responce, especially behind the scenes, and did not anticipate some of the tactics that have been used.

      If people are wondering why there have been so few individual voices raised in favour of recovery in this debate or before, it should be recognised that there is a fear amongst those who do want to advocate for recovery that if they did so, they risk others assuming that they themselves must be ‘in recovery’ or at the very least ex-users. Naturally they fear what the very real consequences of that perception could be. If recovery advocates who themselves are not ‘in recovery’ declare this, then it puts those advocates who are, in a difficult position. I think most people agree that the pervasive and entrenched stigma against drug users extends also to ex-users, (though clearly not to the same degree) and an unfortunate side effect of the established model of addiction being a ‘chronic relapsing disorder’ is it implies that relapse is inevitable and feeds directly into the stereotype of ‘once an addict, always an addict’.

      I have no issue with your statement that people who seek treatment are only a small minority of all AOD users and for the majority of users, abstinence is irrelevant and that for people who do get into trouble abstinence must be an informed choice, not an imposition. Recovery does not seek to impose abstinence on anyone (there I go again speaking as the voice of recovery, time for me to get my soapbox).

      As Stephen Bamber said when he was out here, recovery works best when it is defined locally by debate and consensus and perhaps it is time for the same reasonably civil consensus-building that has been carried out in the UK and USA. I would very much welcome a genuine attempt at consensus building (not farcical faux-consensus posturing designed to polarise and discredit) among everyone with a vested interest in how recovery develops in this country, which I assume is everyone with a vested interest in the health and welfare of drug users whether they want recovery or not.

      • Anonymous AOD Worker says:

        Thanks WS.
        Sounds like we’re pretty much in perfect agreement. You’ve got me worried about DFA though.
        Looking forward to your future contributions to Stonetree.

  5. Web Servant says:

    Finally … The members of the Recovery Academy Australia (RAA) have developed a set of principles of recovery which describe our hopes and vision for a progressive and inclusive recovery movement in Australia.

    Recovery Academy Australia does not claim exclusive ownership or leadership on what recovery in Australia ought to be. This first effort to define our principles is the product of a group of recovery advocates in Victoria.

    RAA believes that the principles of recovery outlined below are in concordance with the ideals of health promotion, the social model of health, the model of social inclusion and the harm minimisation framework. RAA is open to further constructive critique and dialogue of how well the recovery principles suggested below relate to these ideals.

    http://principles.recoveryacademyaustralia.org.au/

  6. Web Servant says:

    The members of the Recovery Academy Australia (RAA) have developed a set of principles of recovery which describe our hopes and vision for a progressive and inclusive recovery movement in Australia. Recovery Academy Australia does not claim exclusive ownership or leadership on what recovery in Australia ought to be. This first effort to define our principles is the product of a group of recovery advocates in Victoria.

    RAA believes that the principles of recovery outlined below are in concordance with the ideals of health promotion, the social model of health, the model of social inclusion and the harm minimisation framework. RAA is open to further constructive critique and dialogue of how well the recovery principles suggested below relate to these ideals.

    The Recovery Academy Australia (RAA) and our Principles of Recovery document will be officially launched on Friday 21st September at the Royal Society of Victoria. Click here for more details.

    We invite you to read our principles document linked below and if you would like to provide comments and feedback, please email info@recoveryacademyaustralia.org.au

    http://principles.recoveryacademyaustralia.org.au/

  7. bernard hickey says:

    an argument based on a quote from one person without context and then you appeal to the science of your gut feeling . my understanding of RAA approach is its very accepting of harm minimisation and inclusve .Why the fear?

    • stonetreeaus says:

      Hi Bernard,
      Thanks for your comment. I would agree with your assertion that many in the recovery movement support the notion of harm reduction (important to make this distinction – harm reduction and harm minimisation are actually different things). The concern expressed by Anonymous AOD worker I think is that while some in the recovery movement are supportive of harm reduction there are others who have called into question harm reduction strategies that have been demonstrated consistently through evidence to reduce drug related harms. Perhaps one of the most contentious points is in regards to opioid maintenance therapies and methadone in particular which is supported by a large amount of evidence to reduce drug related harms. Despite this some in the recovery movement have questioned it’s use. I think questioning this could be construed as fear as you have asserted, however I read it more as concern that such contentions could be utilised to attack a harm reduction strategy that does provide demonstratable benefits for many people.

      Cheers

      Stonetree

  8. Hi! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the fantastic work!

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