Alcohol expert gives rehab talk

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A REHABILITATION worker from America is coming to Sheffield later this year to share his expertise on beating alcohol addiction.

The Sheffield Alcohol Support Service has organised a national conference around the issue of alcohol addiction and rehabilitation, in the city on October 6.

Opening the event will be Phil Valentine, from the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery project – one of the most important and knowledgeable speakers in the alcoholism recovery field.

The aim of the event is to learn lessons in how to shift treatment in the UK to focusing on recovery.

It will build on work that has been ongoing in Sheffield for the past three years, since the Sheffield service first forged links with the Connecticut project.

The method has proved very popular, with 97 per cent of service users showing an improvement in their alcohol intake since it started.

Carl Cundall, manager of the Alcohol Recovery Community within Sheffield Alcohol Support Service, said: “The people who use our service definitely benefit from the positive emphasis on recovery rather than on the perhaps more negative emphasis of just managing their addiction with the help of treatment and support.

“Eleven of our Sheffield service users have recovered so significantly with this new approach they themselves have undergone training to become accredited recovery coaches, supporting others.”

One of the crucial aspects of the Sheffield service’s peer-led recovery support is the provision of activities to help fill the gap left by alcohol.

Most people with a drug or alcohol problem have complex physical, mental health and social problems, and require complex support. Current treatment in the UK is centred on medication and long-term maintenance.

But a report by Professor John Strang for the National Treatment Agency has said this type of support is no longer fit for purpose.

Carl said: “The sector is at a key stage in the development of recovery as the framework for supporting drug and alcohol users.

“Calling on our experience in Sheffield, we wanted to get together our friends from America with industry leaders here, as well as like-minded organisations, in order to open up the conversation around recovery and share the US ideas.”

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