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Recovered User’s Network: 'Drug treatment shouldn’t become a ghetto, it should maximise opportunities to recover'

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RUN12RUN (Recovered User’s Network) was officially launched on 2 October in the European Parliament, Brussels in an event hosted by MEP Marco Scurria and attended by people from all over Europe.

The launch of RUN had been organised by its founding members of former drug users in a bid to express the need for more long-term services for drug users who want to stop using drugs.

Professor Neil McKeganey explained that previously in the UK, the majority of drug users accessing treatment services were provided with clinical treatment but a lack of support to facilitate their original goals of becoming drugfree. Those with drug addiction require a much broader package of support to enable them to live without a chronic dependence, he continued, to help them rebuild their lives, in areas such as in employment, housing and in terms of strengthening family relationships.

Professor McKeganey noted that part of the “problem is that treatment can become a ghetto” of continuing dependence if broader support is not available.

“For the first time, the word “recovery” has been mentioned in the new EU Drugs Strategy (2013-2020),” explained Justyna Glodowska-Wernet of the European Commission, a sentiment that has been warmly welcomed by therapeutic communities, former users, recovery organisations and members of the EU Civil Society Forum on Drugs.

Roland Simon, of the EMCDDA, highlighted the need to provide broader packages of support, while also highlighting the need for additional research to be carried out in the field of recovery. The EMCDDA itself has been working on a publication with authors from Ghent University, Belgium which will be available in early 2014.

RUN Chairman Boro Goic said that now was a good time to launch RUN, a network for former recovered users as there is limited support to help people stop using drugs completely, particularly in some parts of Europe and that such initiatives not only have benefits for the individual, but also for wider society.

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RUN is now accepting new members who are either individuals or organisations supporting people in recovery. The aim of RUN will be to advocate on the political level for rights of former drug users and also to help shape policies to better shape services. For more information, please contact [email protected] or search for RUN – Recovered Users Network on facebook to find out more.

Background

RUN is an initiative established by the European platform Europe against Drugs, drug rehabilitation community San Patrignano (Italy), Celebrate Recovery (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Izlazak/Exodus (Serbia). Since May 2013, RUN has already become a network of at least 18 member organisations as well as individual members.

The vision of RUN will be to raise the voice of the recovery movement, by contributing to constructive and respectful drug policies, for individuals, families and communities. The mission of RUN is to be a network which provides a voice for recovered drug users to promote and share experience of recovery, on both the political and practical level.

On the political level, RUN will:

• Seek to give a political voice to recovered drug users and their organisations.

• Advocate for recovery-oriented policies in International, European and national political forums.

• Demonstrate how recovery can counteract the wider harm caused by drug use to individuals, families and communities.

On the practical level, RUN will:

• Provide a platform for recovered users to become advocates showing that recovery is possible.

• Promote the social integration of recovered drug users in areas such as employment, housing and health.

• Promote recovery as a viable and sustainable option, for both the individual and for society.

• Exchange experiences across organisations which lead to better programmes for recovering and recovered drug users.

For more information, click here.

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