Creating communities in recovery: Action on Addiction leads debate at Conservative Party Conference 2019
Action on Addiction hosted a key debate at this year’s Conservative Party Conference calling for representatives of public health, the third sector and philanthropists to come together to tackle the growing volume and complexity of addiction in communities across the country.
Taking place in the Youth Zone, the event entitled ‘Everyone knows someone with an addiction’ highlighted the impact addiction has on individuals, families and communities and considered how the foundations for stable recovery could be developed in places most affected by addictions.
Action on Addiction’s Chief Executive, Graham Beech, opened the fringe debate saying:
“Given its impact on children, families and communities, it is clear that addiction knows no bounds. The ripple effect of addiction can be seen in every city, every town and every village across the country.
In addition, Graham argued that the commissioning arrangements, as currently configured, are out of step with the complex nature of addiction today: “At a time when public funding for treatment is falling, addiction itself is growing in both volume and complexity.”
“The commissioning arrangements that were developed over 20 years ago to deal with a particular set of social problems are out of step with the growing and complex problems of addiction which communities face today. We have to find new ways of developing and funding treatment and help people find long term, stable recovery from addiction.”
Giles Dilnot, from the Children’s Commissioner’s Office, and Chair of the event, presented addiction as one of the ‘toxic trio’ that two million children in the UK today experience within their family life, alongside serious mental health issues and domestic abuse. He discussed the paucity of support for these families, with no assistance currently available to protect children living with any, or all three, of the toxic trio in their home lives.
Further contributors to the discussion included representatives from local authorities and public health commissioners, the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Alcohol Health Alliance as well as people in recovery themselves.
“We must start by talking more about the widening problems of addiction as part of the public health narrative,” Graham concluded at the end of the event. “The more people talk about the different facets of addiction the more we will be able to tackle stigma and come together to find solutions that give people the opportunity to find freedom from this life-stopping condition.”