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Author: Nigel Brunsdon

Health and Social Benefits of Gardening

HIT Seminar Archive

This Hot Topics seminar on the health and social benefits of gardening took place on Wednesday 2nd September 2015. The event was inspired by HMP Rye Hill’s organic growing project, launched in May 2013 with Garden Organic, offering therapeutic horticultural intervention to offenders with a history of substance abuse.

Speakers

Robin Baxter

Master Gardener Volunteer Co-ordinator

Robin Baxter, the project’s Master Gardener Volunteer Co-ordinator, will spoke about his work at HMP Rye Hill and the fantastic results that the project is delivering. He was joined by Paul Evans, the prison’s Substance Misuse Strategy Manager.

Stephen Yip

Founder and Director, KIND

Stephen spoke about KIND’s interactive garden, kitchen and roof garden allotments that have brought to life their centre’s education programme, giving their children the opportunity to gain vital hands-on experience and seeing plants and garden inhabitants in their natural habitat. They also teach children and families where their food comes from and how to grow and tend their own from seed-providing them with practical hands-on experience that impacts into their everyday lives.

Andrea Ku

Beekeeper

ndrea dedicates her life and work to urban biodiversity and how to preserve, conserve or make plans to enhance its existence and function in the city. She runs citizen science projects, grows and harvests food, and designs and works with biodiversity gardens and community projects such as allotments and wildlife spaces. At this seminar she spoke about beekeeping in Liverpool and surrounding areas.

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Drug Policy

HIT Seminar Archive

On March 24th 2015 HIT and Liverpool John Moores University’s Centre for Public Health presented a Hot Topics/Research in Focus Seminar looking at drug policy, with Johann Hari and Steve Rolles.

Speakers

Johann Hari

writer and journalist

Johann Hari

Johann Hari is a British writer and journalist who has written regular columns for The Independent and The Huffington Post and has made contributions to several other publications. Johann explored the issues covered in his new book ‘Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs‘.

It is now 100 years since drugs were first banned. On the eve of this centenary, journalist Johann Hari set off on an epic three-year, 30,000-mile journey into the war on drugs to uncover its secrets – and he found that there is a startling gap between what we have been told and what is really going on. As strange as it may seem at first, drugs are not what we have been told they are; addiction is not what we think it is; and the drug war has very different motives to the ones we have seen on our TV screens.

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Steve Rolles

Senior Policy Analyst, Transform Drug Policy Foundation

Johann Hari

Steve Rolles is Senior Policy Analyst at Transform Drug Policy Foundation. As well as writing a range of journal articles, periodicals and book chapters, Steve was lead author on many of Transform’s publications, including 2009’s ‘After the War on Drugs: Blueprint for Regulation’.

Steve attempts to answer the following questions: Why should drugs workers be interested in drug policy? What can we do here in the UK to change policy? What would a regulated market look like?</>

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Implications of Welfare Reform

HIT Seminar Archive

The process of welfare reform initiated by the coalition government on taking office in 2010 has had a number of implications for all people in receipt of social security, some of which are yet to be fully felt or understood. This seminar looked at recent developments from a policy perspective, and at likely future developments.

Welfare reform has been accompanied by a strong drive to reduce unemployment and move people, particularly the long-term unemployed, into work. This has led to a number of changes, both at Jobcentre Plus and in outsourced provision like the Work Programme and Work Choice. This seminar covered three subjects:

  • Social security policy and welfare reform – where we came from, where we’re going and what the implications might be for people working in drug and alcohol services;
  • Findings from the Voices from the Frontline project. This is led by the Making Every Adult Matter (MEAM) Coalition – DrugScope, Clinks, Homeless Link and Mind. The focus of the research has been into the consequences of all main elements of welfare reform for the most socially excluded people, particularly those with multiple and complex needs;
  • Developments in employment support. This included findings from DrugScope’s employment work in London and elsewhere, as well as its broader engagement with its members.

Speakers

Paul Anders

Senior Policy Officer DrugScope

Paul Anders is Senior Policy Officer at DrugScope, the national membership organisation for the drug and alcohol treatment sector, where he leads policy work including the annual State of the Sector survey, welfare reform, employment, housing and the broader social inclusion agenda.

Before joining DrugScope in 2012, he was first London Regional Manager and then Employment Manager at Homeless Link, the membership organisation for the homelessness sector. Before that, he worked in and managed services for rough sleepers and people at risk of homelessness in London and Sheffield.

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Drugs and the Internet

HIT Seminar Archive

At this HIT Hot Topics Seminar, Kieran Hamilton discussed online drug user subcultures in relation to both illegal and novel psychoactive substances, the role of the Internet in the changing nature of drug use, and what this might mean for drug users, as well as drug policy, in the future.
  • What drugs are people buying on the internet? 
  • How are people using the drugs they buy online?
  • What does the internet mean for drug users?
  • How can policy best address the issue of drugs and the internet?

Speaker

Kieran Hamilton

PhD Researcher

Kieran

Kieran Hamilton is a PhD Researcher at the centre for Alcohol and Drug Studies within the School of Media, Culture and Society at the University of the West of Scotland. His research interests include novel psychoactive substances, the relationship between the Internet and drug use, and online and offline harm reduction networks.

His research to date has included investigating the impacts of mephedrone use and prohibition in the West of Scotland. He is currently researching perceptions of novel psychoactive substances in terms of harm, risk and legality, and the consequences this might have for drug using behaviour.

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Adam Winstock

HIT Seminar Archive

Prescription drug misuse kills more people in the USA than heroin. Driven by aggressive marketing by big pharma in the States and some lax prescribing supported by poor regulation, these ‘quality’ products are one of the biggest emerging drug threats in the UK.

Using data for the Global Drug Survey and clinical experience across various health care sectors, the first part of this talk focused on tramadol, gabapentin/pregabalin and the prescription opioids.

One prescription drug that regularly appears outside clinical environments is Viagra and this sexual enhancer leads us into the second part of the talk the sexual function and risks of drugs.

While sometimes drug filled experiences can be fun, often people wake up in a blur, uncertain of what has happened. These ‘mystery nights’ can be very distressing and lead to regret and unplanned ramifications, as can ‘mystery white powders’ which seem to have an attraction for so many in the UK. In the last part of the talk Adam covered harm reduction for ‘new drug virgins’ and skate over some of the novel psychoactive substances that GDS has recently written on – DMT, NMBOMe and the synthetic cannabis products.

So from pills and powders to prescriptions and pleasure we hope Adam covered something that tickles everyone’s fancy.

Speaker

Adam Winstock

Global Drug Survey Founder

Bengt Kayser

Adam is a Consultant Addiction Psychiatrist based in London where is he looks after the care of people who use drugs in prison. He is also an Honorary Reader at University College London, he was previously Consultant Psychiatrist at the Maudsley Hospital and Senior Lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London. Adam has published over 100 research papers and has developed particular clinical and research expertise in the areas of cannabis, new drugs and chemsex. He is also founder and director of Global Drug Survey, the world’s biggest annual survey of drug use trends, the architect of online and smart phone apps drugs meter and Drinks Meter, and the ultra brief feedback and assessment tool for cannabis use www.saferuselimits.co

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Service Provision to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender People

HIT Seminar Archive

In this Hot Topics seminar Monty and Lyn explored patterns of drug use in their respective areas and suggested tips for how drugs services can best serve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Speakers

Lyn Matthews

Drugs worker & activist

Lyn has been a drugs worker for 25 years and is a harm reduction activist. She works at the Armistead Project, which provides support, information and sexual health promotion and drugs harm reduction advice to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community.

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Monty Moncrieff

Chief Executive London Friend

Monty is Chief Executive with London Friend and has over 15 years of experience working with LGB&T communities. Prior to London Friend he led on LGB&T equality for the Department Of Health managing a strategic national programme and working with a wide range of stakeholders, including contributions to the Government’s LGB&T action plans. He has provided training on a wide range of LGB&T issues as well as supported organisations to develop their service provision to LGB&T populations.

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