National Drugs Conference Ireland 2011

I was lucky enough to be invited back to Dublin again to help at this year’s National Drugs Conference. I flew with Nigel Brunsdon Injecting Advice and now HIT  Community Manager and we met Kevin Cundy of Frontier Medical Group at the airport.

It was held as previously at the Radisson hotel (great showers!). Tim Bingham of the INEF again pulled off the organisation of this big event and didn’t seem to stand still for three days but his efforts are very much appreciated. The conference consisted of plenary speaker sessions and break off workshops for delegates to attend.

The full programme of speakers can be seen on the INEF website.

On the Thursday morning we had a manic time registering everyone and it was good to see some familiar faces both from the real world and Twitter.

As always I tend to go to the sessions of my friends or people I know. Roweena Russell who was a big help with the recent tender I wrote delivered a session on how the website Hiwecanhelp has developed and can benefit organisations all across the UK. Check out their funky new homepage.

I also went to see  the seriously inspirational Annemarie Ward who really got the delegates engaged. You can read all about the work of the UKRF and their principles are well worth checking out. They (Annemarie and Alistair Sinclair) are doing great work changing the face of recovery to bring everyone together to encourage choices in treatment  and developing supportive recovery networks across the UK.  See my previous post on the UKRF conference here.

It was good to see the HIT O’ Hare’s again and I’m looking forward to the fundraiser in Liverpool later this month. I also met Stephen Malloy (Scottish Drug Forum) and Julia Elspeth who were formerly just little thumbnails on my Twitter screen.

Of particular interest was a panel discussion on Drugs, Stigma and the Media. The panel consisted of:

Erin O’Mara, editor of Black Poppy, a UK-based health and lifestyle magazine produced by and for people who use drugs.

We were carrrying around this idea that we were wastes, wastes of spaces. . . when you go and seek treatment and you know they are treating you badly you think well I’m a junkie….it gets ingrained and it drives a big wedge and silences people.

Rick Lines, Harm Reduction International

Maureen Brosnahan, a veteran national reporter with the Canadian Broadcasting Company.

We need to be conscious of the language we use,  junkie versus user, hooker versus sex worker, addiction versus dependency…

Kitty Holland, The Irish Times
Keelin Shanley, RTE

You can see the video of it below.

National Drugs Conference Panel Discussion – Drugs, Stigma and the Media

Good news is unfortunately not news. We are more likely to hear the stories of stereotypical users committing crime than the  positive stories of people in recovery who have managed to get through difficult times. People who are stuck in their Daily Mail regurgitating views want the stories that perpetuate what they prefer to believe. They rarely look for what the real story is, the reasons why people may use problematically, attempt to understand dependency, happily keep the ‘us and them’ mentality while quaffing their own drug of choice, usually Alcohol and not recognising the irony or their hypocrisy. Ooh sorry, nearly a rant there.

Anyway, it was a brilliant couple of days and thanks to all involved both during the conference and socialising in the evenings too.

Thanks for reading.


Inspire Health and Mind

@InspireHandM @StaceInspire



Posted on November 9, 2011, in Blog, Drugs and Alcohol, Friends of Inspire Health and Mind, NDCI 2011, People, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.



    The producers of this short film are both recovering addicts who have both spent time living and indulging with drug addiction in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Today they are both clean and sober with multiple years of recovery
    Addiction: Chaos in Vancouver

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