Many of you will have seen the Russell Brand documentary “From Addiction to Recovery” in which Brand debated the effectiveness of maintenance programmes such as methadone. The documentary sparked mass interest and was the subject of debate on BBC Radio Kent. Daniel Gerrard was invited to speak with presenter Julia George to give his views on addiction.

Daniel gave a brief outline of his own history of addiction; he had a high-powered job in the city and used cocaine and alcohol, but noticed that his using was spiralling out of control and causing him to not turn up for work and lose relationships. An aunt then took him to one side and pointed out the addictive tendencies that existed throughout the family, which Daniel points out is the case in the majority of addictions; there will usually be a family history of addiction.

At this point Julia and Daniel began to debate whether it matters why the person started using a substance in the first place. Julia felt this was irrelevant however Daniel explained that many addicts will blame themselves and not understand what is wrong with them. Before a person can get better, they need to accept that they have an illness, and then they can seek treatment. A comparison often used with addiction is that of diabetes, however Julia suggested the difference is that diabetics cannot decide not to be ill anymore. However, as Daniel points out, they cannot decide not to be ill, but they can decide to take the medication that treats the diabetes, in the same way that an addict can decide to engage in a recovery programme.