A new start in life is achievable

I was interested to read the article on Ian Linsley in the Gazette, July 25.

I am the medical director at two inpatient drug and alcohol treatment centres and I have also worked as a doctor in the community and general practice based services, so I have a broad overview of what is available.

I am very keen that the best possible treatment is available to people wherever they live and I very much welcome the increasingly open discussion of drug and alcohol problems in the media and it was good to see something in the Gazette on this topic.

I would like give some good news to Ian and others who may not get on well with the 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)-type model which he seems to have experienced.

Times have indeed moved on and now there are other options available in the community and residential centres which offer a different approach.

These include SMART recovery groups (run by people who have had addiction problems), social learning, solution-focused and cognitive/behavioural based therapies as well as relapse prevention and recovery focused programmes.

For example in our unit – The Huntercombe Centre in Sunderland, we offer these types of therapy in both one-to-one work and group work.We do not use the AA approach but would still help people to access AA if they wished to.

It’s about people’s choices and what works best for them.

So I hope all goes well for Ian and all credit to him for his enthusiasm to help people on to recovery.

Treatment has moved on – and can be very effective.

We have certainly discovered that to be true over the years and I would really like to give people hope that help is available if they want it – and that a new start in life is certainly achievable.

Dr Joss Bray,

Medical Director for Addiction Services,

Huntercombe Group