Beating addiction is never easy, but many experts are of the opinion that a programme of addiction detox followed by rehabilitation is the best way to recover. In most instances, complete abstinence from drugs or alcohol is the most beneficial type of treatment, but sometimes, those with heroin addiction are placed on a management programme instead, such as the methadone programme. This kind of programme has its critics, especially when you consider that some people have been placed on the methadone programme for decades with no hope of ever getting off it.

The Effectiveness of Abstinence

One advocator for the abstinence model is former Rangers footballer Alex Rae, who is celebrating being sober for seventeen years. He is of the opinion that addiction detox and rehab is the best way to get clean and stay clean, and he said that this was the way that he beat the alcoholism that plagued his life for so long.

He went on to say that he is ‘amazed’ that successive governments in the UK continue to favour the management approach to certain addictions such as heroin addiction. He believes they are disregarding the effectiveness of abstinence in favour of ‘management’.

Helping Others

Alex’s successful recovery through the abstinence approach gave him the inspiration to help others and led to the setup of the Second Chance Project ten years ago, through which he helps others to recover from addiction. Alex and his team have already helped around four hundred individuals to overcome their addictions, but he admits that the survival of the project is always under threat due to the constant battle for funding.

He said that funding bodies rarely make a long-term commitment to programmes based around addiction detox and rehabilitation due to advocating total abstinence. The charity often has to source funding elsewhere when cuts are administered, and Alex admits to using money from his own pocket so that staff can get paid.

Shunning Abstinence Programmes

A recent report revealed that the Scottish Government is spending millions of pounds every year on methadone programmes, but health boards are spending less than £500,000 on abstinence-based programmes.

Alex said, “I was amazed when I discovered Glasgow had no public funded programmes that prioritised people getting off the substance they are addicted to. Since 2008, we have spent a total of £1.2 million and we have successfully helped more than 300 people to break free from their addiction. Just think what we could do with even a million quid a year. We could get so many people free from drugs and the ripple effect on the lives of their family would mean 20,000 people could benefit.”

Alex is unhappy with the way health bosses and politicians seem to have no problem leaving addicts on methadone programmes for years while telling everyone how successful they are. He said, “I was struck by the way people were telling me that they were off the drugs and on medication and it turns out the medication is methadone, and they could be parked on it for years. That just seemed crazy to me, like it was no answer to their problems.”

Overcoming Addiction with Abstinence

Alex is a firm believer that while there may be a place for methadone in the treatment of heroin addiction, abstinence is a better option for most people. He said, “The Second Chance success rates speak for themselves, and there should be more funding for projects like this.”

Labour MSP Anas Sarwar, who requested information about Government spending on abstinence programmes, said, “I have a very strong feeling that projects like Second Chance are being overlooked with no good reason. I am not saying there is no place for methadone, but there needs to be more diversity in treatment programmes. We cannot simply accept treatments that go on for decades. Common sense tells us that getting people off drugs should be the ultimate target, and this project proves that is possible.”

Detoxification and Rehabilitation

Overcoming addiction usually begins with an addiction detox, followed by a programme of rehabilitation. Projects such as Second Chance offer those with addiction the opportunity to beat their addiction with the help and support of people who have been through the process and are now living clean and healthy sober lives.

There are many other organisations around the UK where addicts can complete programmes of addiction detoxification and rehabilitation; Addiction Helper can help you to find them. We work with private clinics, charities, local support groups and the NHS to ensure that as many people as possible can access the treatments they need to get better.

We believe that every person with addiction should be able to get the help they require, regardless of their circumstances, and we will work with you to put you in touch with a treatment provider that suits your individual needs. Call today for more information about our service and how we can help you.

Source: Ex-Rangers star Alex Rae’s Second Chance project shows government how to tackle addiction the right way (The Daily Record)