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Laughology

HIT Seminar Archive

On 19 July, Stephanie Davies, founder of Laughology and Alan Matthews, freelance trainer talked us through the theory underpinning laughology and gave examples of how we might use it in work with people who use drugs. Along the way, there were plenty of laughs and a couple of (almost) embarrassing activities that had the whole room cracking up.

Everyone’s heard the adage ‘laughter is the best medicine’, so it should come as no surprise that laughter can be a key component of a drug worker’s toolbox.

Stephanie’s laughology expertise and Alan’s second-to-none knowledge of drugs and drug treatment complemented each other perfectly, and their double act was enjoyable.

Being able to laugh and have a sense of humour is a life-skill that is essential to a healthy balance between mind and body. Laughology’s techniques are now being employed to benefit people in drug treatment by taking a practical approach to how humour processing can help people achieve whatever goals they set themselves.

Speakers

Stephanie Davies

Laughology ceo

She is Laughology’s founder and CEO designing and delivering interventions for top-performing teams across a range of sectors. She studied community arts at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts before embarking on a career as an award-winning stand-up comedian, appearing alongside Sarah Millican, John Bishop and Jason Manford.

Alan Matthews

independent researcher, consultant and trainer

Alan has worked in the drugs field since 1984, and was involved in the establishment of the Mersey Regional Drug Training & Information Centre (now HIT), which pioneered drug-related harm reduction strategies. He is also the founding editor of The International Journal of Drug Policy. Since 1992 Alan has worked as an independent researcher, consultant and trainer for a wide range of organisations, from Local Authorities to universities to voluntary community groups, dealing with young people and drug use.

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Cannabis

HIT Seminar Archive

Cannabis continues to be a popular drug in the UK, although the strains of the drug itself, and the research relating to its use are always developing, so on the 19th June (2012) we held a Cannabis seminar in Warrington.

Speakers

Matthew Atha

Drug Abuse Research and Information Consultant

Matthew has over 25 years experience as an expert witness in the UK Courts, consulted on over 3000+ cases. He gave a broad overview of cannabis, including what it is, how it’s taken, who takes it and what its effects are, he has been kind enough to collect together his talk and his powerpoint into one document which you can download.

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Dr Russell Newcombe

Freelance researcher

Russell Newcombe has specialized in research, lecturing, training and consultancy on drug use and drug policy for 27 years, with a broader interest in deviant behaviour and mental health. His main research areas include trends in drug use (prevalence and consumption), the psycho-social effects of drugs, and the reduction of drug-related risks and harms. Russell spoke about legal high synthetic cannabinoids, like Black Mamba, looking at the possibilities for future development of an almost endless number of substances.

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Kirstie Douse

Release

In addition to managing the Legal Team at Release, Kirstie continues to advise clients at Release’s legal surgeries and via the legal helpline. She has become increasingly involved in the organisation’s policy and campaign work, and is passionate about tackling the stigma faced by people who use drugs. Kirstie provides comment in the media on legal and policy issues relating to drugs, and has also presented at national and international conferences. Kirstie talked about how the law on cannabis affects young people. She focused especially on the way that young people experimenting with this drug are criminalised by our current legal system, and how this impacts on them in later life.

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Legal Highs

HIT Seminar Archive

On 8th May 2012 HIT held a Legal Highs seminar in Warrington. The speakers for this were Dr. Russell Newcombe and Dr. Harry Sumnall. Both Russell and Harry spoke about how unhelpful news reporting has been around legal highs, with news headlines like “Man rips off own scrotum”, they also both worked to put the current views of legal highs into some historical context.

Russell had brought along his extensive collection of legal highs packaging (see photos below) including a very rare packet of the heroin laced cigarettes that were prescribed in the Wirral in the late 1980s.

Harry’s presentation ended with him strongly encouraging people to not get caught up in trying to identify each legal high by name, many of these drugs are being referred to by a small number of interchangeable names (lots of different drugs called ‘Bubble’ for instance), instead we should be identifying the ‘suite’ of effects caused by the drug and working with that.

Speakers

Harry Sumnall

Professor in Substance Use at the Public Health Institute

Harry Sumnall is a Professor in Substance Use at the Public Health Institute. He is interested in all aspects of substance use, particularly young people’s health issues. Harry’s funded research programmes have examined the evidence base for substance misuse prevention and the mechanisms for implementing evidence based practice and policy. Harry was a Member of the UK Government Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs between 2011-2019, a Board Member and Past-President of the European Society for Prevention Research (2010-2019), and a scientific advisor to the MIND Foundation.

Russell Newcombe

Freelance Researcher

Russell Newcombe has specialized in research, lecturing, training and consultancy on drug use and drug policy for 27 years, with a broader interest in deviant behaviour and mental health. His main research areas include trends in drug use (prevalence and consumption), the psycho-social effects of drugs, and the reduction of drug-related risks and harms.

Jon Derricott

Video Credit

All the films of sessions appearing on this page have been recorded and edited by Jon Derricott.

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Living a Life On Purpose

HIT Seminar Archive

On March 25th Jacquie Johnston-Lynch described the pain that brought her into the addiction field and how she became ready to become purposeful in all aspects of her life as a result of the debilitating effects of that pain. She also explored the more pertinent issues to staff and clients alike in relation to living a life on purpose.

Speaker

Jacquie Johnston-Lynch

social worker and therapist

Jacquie Johnston-Lynch is a social worker and therapist by training but has managed 3rd sector organisations in the field of HIV, Addiction, Recovery and Personal Development since 1992.

She is known for a series of UK firsts: The First UK Recovery Walk in 2009; The First Social Enterprise Dry Bar in the UK; The First UK Recovery Choir… the list goes on!

She has an entrepreneurial flair and is always able to bring LOVE into each setting she works in. She works to the following 3 tenets:

  • Turning Pain into Purpose
  • Transforming Trauma
  • Creating Opportunities from Obstacles

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Lucy O’Hare

I am the Training Manager here at HIT, so I’m responsible for putting together our annual training programme and liaising with our customers and trainers to set up commissioned courses. My days involve a LOT of emails back and forth, writing evaluation reports and putting training packs together, amongst other things!

I’ve been at HIT since 2009 and I feel very lucky to do the job that I do, and in such a lovely working environment. I also love having the opportunity to go to conferences and meet lots of new people – for instance I was lucky enough to go to the International Harm Reduction Conference in Lithuania.

Before I started at HIT, I spent a couple of years in Australia and New Zealand on a Working Holiday visa, and before that I studied French at Leeds University. When I’m not working, I enjoy camping (mostly in Wales) and going to festivals, and I love riding my bike along Liverpool’s beautiful waterfront. I have also developed a recent obsession with dehydrating fruit and vegetables, and my ambition for this year is to start learning the violin again, 15 years after giving it up!

Naloxone

HIT Seminar Archive

Naloxone

On 2nd February 2012 Danny Morris gave a presentation on the lifesaving medication Naloxone. This drug that can be used to reverse the effects of opitate overdose and is being distributed by a number of areas around the UK and internationally to heroin users and their families.

The session was attended by 40-50 people and there was lively discussion on the day. The main point of discussion was around the possibility (or not) that people’s behaviour could become more risky. The group was split three ways with the following opinions:

  • That it would make behaviour more risky, and so should be seen as a negative intervention
  • That behaviour may be more risky but, still thought that it was worth using this as an overdose intervention
  • That there is no evidence that it increases risk behaviour and that there is evidence that it doesn’t increase risk

On this last point, Seal et al. “…observed a decline in heroin use in participants enrolled in their naloxone (and resuscitation) intervention in San Francisco, with a simultaneous increase in overdose prevention knowledge.”

Cost was not raised as a major issue, although some providers were worried that they would have to bear the cost of training people in naloxone’s use, but the local DAAT reassured them that it would cover these costs.

Speaker

Danny Morris

Danny Morris has been involved in the drugs field for over 20 years. He works as a development manager for an NHS drug treatment service in the UK and increasingly as a freelance trainer, writer and consultant focussing on supporting services and users in initiating changes that focuses on the sustainable reduction of drug related harm.

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