09 Oct 2023

Mat (00:02.259) Alright, welcome to another episode of the Altered-Attitudes podcast, where we share stories, insight and support to inspire positive change in the lives of those seeking recovery. Today's episode is brought to you by Rehabs UK, your partner on the journey towards recovery. We're about to dive into a timely and crucial topic that's currently making headlines across the UK. The UK's first official consumption room for illegal drugs, including heroin and cocaine, and it's been received, it has received approval in fact, by authorities in Glasgow.

To help us dissect this pivotal and quite frankly, controversial development, we're joined today by Lester Morse, Managing Director of Rehabs UK. Morning Lester. Lester, your wealth of knowledge and indeed your opinion is always appreciated, so thank you for joining us. I'm your host Matt, and together with Lester today, we're gonna explore the significance of this initiative, its potential impact on individuals, families, communities, and the broader conversation surrounding drug addiction, harm reduction, and the path to recovery.

lester (00:42.37) Alright.

Mat (01:02.795) So before we dive in, it's just a quick reminder to please hit that subscribe button and share this episode with friends, family or anyone who you think should be a part of this conversation because your help there truly makes a massive difference. Now let's get into this pilot scheme we're discussing. It's located in Glasgow's East End and supported by the Scottish Government as a proactive response to the drug death crisis. The Scottish Government is funding the initiative with an initial three year commitment and allocating a budget of £7 million to support the initiative.

So we'll see how far those funds can go. And of course, three years seem like a substantial duration, especially in terms of recovery. It's worth noting that it's a relatively short time, but as governments are, it's sort of four year cycles. So without further ado, let's dive into the discussion with yourself, Lester. Thank you for joining us once again. So with your extensive experience and in the addiction field, what's it been over 25 years working in addiction and even longer than that in recovery?

I imagine this is a topic that's come before and it's pretty clear that on the face of it providing somewhere safe for consumption rooms or consuming alcohol and drug hard drugs will prevent deaths from things like dirty needles and potentially overdose. So on the face of it, that's obviously that's a brilliant thing, right? We all want less deaths. But what does this form of harm minimization mean for long term addiction recovery, especially on like a nationwide scale like that? Like it's obviously that you get...

you have individuals and the government kind of looking at this, these figures as like a huge, uh, as one big thing, you know, it's not as necessarily as individuals. So, so yeah, what does this sort of, um, what does it mean for long-term recovery, having these consumption rooms? Is it a better, is there a better alternative?

lester (02:51.406) Again, just to make it easier for myself, or be easy on me, is that, you know, I don't think there is a answer and I think that's the problem with...

Mat (02:55.103) Hmm.

lester (03:04.226) these sort of discussions and giving opinions on these sort of subjects is quite heavily debated and it's an uncomfortable debate as well because it definitely seems around the world when you listen to the debates there's two very strong voices and one of the voices is harm minimalisation.

lester (03:36.294) which is a whole philosophy and consumption rooms would just be a part of that, they wouldn't be the whole thing. And then on the other hand you have the abstinence base which is mostly coming from things like the 12 step movement. And they really are like the whole minimalisation are like the Catholics because they're sort of state funded and they're the mainstream.

and then you get the Protestants, I like the abstinent-based guys, which is on one of them, that are unfunded, and sort of got a little bit more of a spiritual, some people say religious process, so they, they should, I wouldn't think, they should be hand in hand.

is again I think they are kind of different one should lead to the other

lester (04:43.49) I don't know whether that's always the case. And again, but this is two very different camps. So.

Mat (04:48.403) Oh Lester, we're losing you a little bit there. Have you moved away from your microphone a little bit?

lester (04:53.993) No.

Is that better?

Mat (04:56.887) That sounds better, yeah. Just keep yourself nice and close to that. Yeah, keep yourself nice and close to that mic. Well, I'll put the question, I'll pose it just slightly differently because I understand it's really, it's just a really complicated question and there's not really a right answer to it. So, this really is opinion-based. But with your experience, I appreciate you got some pretty strong and pretty well-educated opinions in there. So really, are these consumption rooms, could it be considered a

lester (05:00.754) Yeah, I didn't move away.

Mat (05:26.143) prelude to absence based recovery? You know, is this something that could come before absence based recovery? Or does this way of thinking just completely fly in the face of that?

lester (05:31.114) Okay, it's just not, I cannot think that.

Yeah, but that's the trouble, see, Matt, is like there isn't a answer. There's lots of different answers, different people at different times. And it kind of even, you know, again, that's why I find this conversation so difficult because it's like two different poles. I think anyone to tell you this, you know, you don't only have to, and again, it's probably a discussion that needs to be had a lot more often.

lester (06:06.926) because when you're talking about one thing, it's like you're against another. And then I think the danger of that is, is that they try and then say, right, who's right? And let's make that.

lester (06:24.542) the process that everybody gets offered. Now for some people that's gonna consign them to a life of drug addiction. Some of them people could become abstinent with the right support. Some people probably not gonna become abstinent ever. Now that's either gonna be because they can't for some.

emotional or mental disorder, oh who knows, or they may just not want to, which seems quite often the case. And then how do you oppose abstinence on someone that doesn't want to? So it's like, it makes it hard to give an answer. But I do fly the flag for recovery, abstinence-based. But that doesn't, you know, that doesn't think that I mean.

for a minute that I believe everybody's able to get free from drugs. I mean I think everybody's able if I'm honest given the right support I just don't think everybody wants to and I think even some of them that don't want to are not able because their drug soaked brains won't allow them to make that choice or they've developed in a way that they're not willing to face themselves.

I've been in abstinence based recovery for 33 years. It's not easy. It literally isn't easy. It's difficult and you really have to be dedicated to it. You really have to be, I just don't ever wanna live my life as a drug addict or an alcoholic. I just don't want that for myself. And so the only way I can ensure that.

Mat (08:15.276) So do you think the chances of somebody finding abstinence are reduced if they participate in something like a consumption?

lester (08:24.902) I think people's chances of finding abstinence are reduced if they're on drugs of any kind.

lester (08:35.69) And that's the trouble because it's mind-altering substances. I think people's minds are altered that it's not even possible for them to make a decision like that without a lot of interference and support around them or, you know, what do we call it? Intervention. You know, some people, and they're given a lot of intervention and clear their minds, they make different choices, but.

but then their minds go up and down, up and down because their brain's struggling to re-ground itself out. And so I think, you know, I don't think people are given the opportunity to be abstinent, even when they send them to rehabs. It's just not a given that somebody's gonna go to a rehab because they're gonna become abstinent. It's a difficult journey. And I don't often see a lot of support, but...

But some of the things that I do think that I think I'd like to say from flying the flag from Amsterdam is that there's no doubt and again look I always think you know when I'm talking about addiction I think I sound like a fanatic but it has been my whole life you know from being in addiction for 12 years myself being in recovery for 33 years and being surrounded by it you know.

try not to be biased but you know obviously we have our biases we all do and things that I believe and things I don't but so correct me Matt from your point of view if you think that what I'm saying is unreasonable but you know Scotland's being given permission for these consumption rooms because they're desperate

That's fair to say, do you not think? It's a desperate situation.

Mat (10:31.071) Yeah, I mean, the death rate's there. They took an ever so slight dip, I think, last year, and now they're back up to an all-time high. It seems to be kind of ever going. And it doesn't seem to be like there's much of a solution to it. People are scrambling for one.

lester (10:46.958) So the old adagy of desperate situations create desperate measures. This is a desperate measure.

Mat (10:57.951) Yeah, absolutely.

lester (10:58.114) So, you know, I don't know if a desperate measure is a good thing. It's a good thing if you're in a desperate situation.

But then I think, well, how did they end up in this desperate situation? When, as far as I can tell, for the last, you know, when I started my journey and when I started to try and help people, which is part of my programme, in, um, probably about 90, in the early nineties, I probably come back to England in about 94, something like that, there was no local.

drug and alcohol agencies. It wasn't being funded at that point. And then I don't know the exact year, but at some point, all of a sudden, we used to have to take people to the doctors and he would give you prescriptions for methadone or he'd give you prescriptions for, what was it, Librium to help people detox. And then you would kind of spend a bit of time helping them detox.

and then all of a sudden the doctor said no you've got to go to these local drug and alcohol agencies which were very much harm minimalization.

and it drove us crazy because we were like they're telling people to have drink diaries they're trying to help them control their drinking. Now again for some people that are now colleagues that's probably possible if you can control your drinking if you can stop or moderate then you're not an alcoholic addict or an addict and so that started but it used to drive us nuts because we were all abstinent thinking that people should stop taking drugs stop drinking that was the goal.

lester (12:44.162) But then, so all of these agencies started to get funded all over the country by the government and they ring-fenced funding for them and they were under the administration of the NTA, the National Treatment Association. There's this whole new system started to happen. Now personally I think since that started the death rate has been rising.

That's my opinion. Again, I'm not in control of the statistics. The NTA, after about 16 years, switched to Public Health England. And I think personally, because they were falsifying statistics. But again, it's only what I picked up on little bits of leaks that were leaked out. That they were ticking boxes to make it sound like everything was going good. But it was getting worse. Prisons were getting worse. Everything was getting worse.

because they were doing this harm minimization. So, but at the same time, now this is the bit I really want to point out because again, I don't know if it's true. It'd be nice if somebody actually did some investigative journalism on it and have a good look. But England started also at that point, started spending a lot more money on putting people in rehab.

and rehab started to grow. And in the rehabs, most rehabs were doing 12 step recovery, which abstinence people love and harm minimalization don't love. They almost seem like you're completely enemies to each other for some reason. That's the sort of the environment that's been set or that exists that they're opposing. But...

the harm minimization were getting all of the funding, but they were using some of that. Now you can't fund 12-Step directly, which is where recovery comes from. The recovery, I believe, in Amsterdam's recovery pretty much comes from 12-Step. But you can't fund that. You can't give money to AA. AA, if the government went, AA, we're gonna give you 100 billion pounds, AA would say, no, thank you.

lester (15:04.842) We can't, if they said AA we're gonna give you a pound. They'd say no thank you. AA is self-supporting for its own contributions. You cannot fund it.

lester (15:17.698) So you can't fund recovery even if you wanted to.

lester (15:24.334) which is a problem for governments. It was a problem for us, to give you an idea, mate, I used to go into the local prison for about 10 years. And I'd go to all of the meetings that they had in the prison to sort of, you know, talk about our groups. And they'd often say, look, you guys don't even take expenses. Let us give you expenses because we believe that we're self-supporting. We weren't allowed to take any money.

if we were going there representing AA, so we refused our expenses and then they said look how can we fund your organisation, we see that you bring something. In actual fact they were going to close down the induction part of, there was a lot of cutbacks in staff so they were trying to defund certain areas and they were talking about cutting back the induction groups.

It wasn't just AA, it was all multidisciplinary kind of meetings, all different kinds of people would introduce themselves at the beginning. But they were going to cut that. But the chaplain and some of the prison guards that looked after the chapel at the centre said this in the meeting, they said, look, I think we should keep funding that because even if it's only to let them people in recovery talk to...

the prisoners because they noticed there was a tangible difference when we talked and they said this, they said look when these guys from the 12 step fellowship talk to the prisoners they get a 95% concentration. They said they just don't see that anywhere else, that these guys listen when them people talk.

Which again is kind of what our whole philosophy is kind of founded on. Nothing equals one alcoholic or addict talking to another with a purpose of recovery. Because probably 80% of them had drug and alcohol problems. But we were talking, they were relating. And anyway, what we'd noticed, we'd spend a lot of energy building in our programs and building some groups up which make it work. But.

lester (17:46.466) Whenever we built up a decent group, for some reason the prison would cut our ability to go in there for always five weeks. I don't even know why, but and after five weeks it kind of destroyed the foundation that we built up. So I used to say to them, look, you can't fund us directly, but would you be willing to put a pot of money aside and then spend it on a prison guard so you don't keep shutting our groups down?

which never happened, but that was just to give you an idea of sort of what you're dealing with. And so...

Mat (18:22.411) An idea of how quickly it can all break down as well.

lester (18:25.886) Well again, when you understand the process of recovery, which most people don't, and you know, it takes a bit of time to explain to people, and this is just through my experience. See I come into a recovery group, and that group supported me. That group was there for me. That group was there for me seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. That group of people were there for me.

at three in the morning when I'm having panic attacks and I'm climbing the walls and I want to use I pick up the phone and somebody's going to drive to my house and sit and drink coffee with me.

When I'm struggling for work, someone's going to help me find some work. When I had nowhere to live, they let me stay on their couch.

that is a massive resource in my life and I needed it. I needed that amount of support. They don't give you that amount of support in the local authorities. They can't give you that amount of support in the local authorities. This problem's never gonna be solved by professionals. Look, even look at the most professionals. They look like drug addicts now and alcoholics. Because mostly they are. In England, 50% of them.

But where did that 50% of recovered people that fielded services come from? From the 12-step fellowships, from the rehabs.

lester (19:58.378) So in England, they funded a lot of rehab places, which built up a lot of recovery because you can't fund recovery directly. This is an important point. You can't fund recovery directly, but the rehabs, by funding the rehabs, you were funding recovery because they were training the people, helping the people, getting them into the local.

meetings building up the recovery capital in the community.

lester (20:33.354) and it was them people. See, when you're actually in the middle of it, because again, twice in two different cities, I was the catalyst that all built around.

that I provided the environment for people to come and eat, come do groups, come do social events, parties, music, holidays, going to the cinema. We created this whole community. And then the people in that community were bringing the other people that were behind them in the community.

lester (21:13.602) So in England, England built up through funding the rehabs a lot of...

lester (21:22.062) recovery, abstinence recovery. And again, in that abstinence recovery, people are relapsing, they're struggling, they're, you know, it's all going on. Addiction is a messy business, man. But it all happened. But you had this massive community that was supporting everyone in the area. Sorry, mate, who's gonna speak now?

Mat (21:25.504) Makes sense.

Mat (21:48.255) Well, I was just going to say, you know, it totally makes sense. I mean, humans just generally, they want to be around people. They want a community, don't they? And if you don't provide a healthy community for them, they're going to go to whatever community is available. And if you're already in the world of drug and alcohol and, you know, I'm sure most people that, you know, they drink or they use, there's going to be somebody else, some kind of friend or somebody out there, some community that they can quite easily call back to. So without providing.

something else for them to really just to do, then they're gonna find their way back there in no time.

lester (22:24.234) Mate, you can't beat it. Honestly, you can't beat that. But it's also develops naturally. Look, literally, when you got ed like mine, again, remember, the drugs and the alcohol, it's just the self-medicating, it's the mental condition that you've got. That's being made worse by the drugs and alcohol, which is why I believe in abstinence, because the drugs and alcohol, whether they're prescription or...

They're making you worse and you're getting worse. Look, you know, again, it's like everything in our society at the minute. It's like, well, smoking's really bad, but vaping's better. Well, it's not good, it's just not as bad as smoking. So again, you can say things look good, but they're not good, they're just better than worse. And people seem happy in that for some reason. But people get worse in drug addiction.

And so even if you bring them up to a reasonable level, they're still gonna get worse as time goes by because you're just medicating a mental condition that's getting worse and the drugs are making it get worse. So, you know, without the ability, see, it wasn't the 12-step program, which I love, and is fantastic and everyone should learn how to do it properly, that kept me sober, it was the fellowship.

because again mate, I have so many issues. You know, I've only got to get a resentment and my personality changes completely. It's like I'm still jackal and hide and I'm very sensitive. So it don't take much to trigger me, even getting involved in these conversations, doing podcasts. Honestly, he's taken a lot of courage.

I have to find a lot of courage to do this. It's just, I believe to some people, what I'm saying is important to other people. I'm just talking a load of shit. But to some people, what I'm saying, it really helps them. Well, it's just why it is. And again, but I believe in recovery. And again, it's not, you know, like we used to say, look, you can't be too stupid to get this.

Mat (24:32.116) Not at all.

lester (24:48.482) You can be too clever.

And so again, it's like, I'm not trying to be too clever. I'm just trying to share my experience, strength and hope. It's very difficult. It's just very difficult. But to give you an example, one of the guys, it was like a real miracle that he's been in recovery for a little period of time, but he's just had tragic event after tragic event and you know, over the...

The weekend, his 17 year old son died of a seizure in his sleep while he was in his care. And I don't know if you can have a more tragic event than that.

So, but he's then surrounded by people in recovery. That they're around his house, you know, because again, you get quite isolated as an addict and there isn't enough people to help you. But as soon as you come in recovery, see, they used to say this, you know, we're gonna love you till you love yourself. And you feel a part of something and then you find a few people that become your support network.

without that support network I just don't think you're gonna make it and again I just don't think that happens as good in a professional setting it's just not you know it's just not they're just not able to offer that and so I think recovery works second to none because of the alcoholics and addicts helping the alcoholics and addicts

lester (26:34.574) because they're there for each other all the time. And see, so in England, they funded a lot of rehabs through that period. So there's a lot of recovery in England, but Scotland never had that.

See Scotland never had a lot of REAPs. Scotland seemed to be really sold out on the harm minimalization.

And so I think that's why their death rate has gone so high because they've got so little recovery.

Not just because everybody's abstinent, because there's not a lot, I mean look, there's some great groups in Scotland. Don't get me wrong, mate. Their fellowship is brilliant. I've been to CA meetings and AA meetings in Glasgow. They're fantastic people and they're doing everything they can to help as many people. And if you went to Scotland, you'd find a lot of heroin addicts, cocaine addicts, crack addicts.

in recovery doing fantastic and helping a lot of other people but they're not getting any support see when you put rehabs in the area it starts filling their meetings up it starts filling up the i should think even around suffolk most of the services have got people that come through the rehabs working in them they're not allowed to

lester (28:03.298) to tell you too much about that which seems strange so i think my big point is that harm minimalization on its own is going to lead to higher death rates you will have lower HIV you will have lower hepatitis

lester (28:25.022) and when they start giving people clean drugs and needles and have someone standing next to them you will have lower death rates but you won't have higher recovery rates because there's not a lot of recovery in it you've got to get the recovery

and the harm minimalization working together.

Mat (28:52.39) Mm-hmm.

lester (28:53.934) because I don't see recovery in harm minimization. You know, some of the great things of harm minimization is like in Liverpool and things like that, I think it was Liverpool, where they had such a high amount of HIV spreading hepatitis that they started giving clean needles. Now clean needles is part of the harm minimization. You're not stopping people using drugs, but you're making it safer for them. And I mean...

To deal with the health issues of addicts, it was fantastic. It brought down all of them issues that having dirty works were causing, but it doesn't treat the addiction.

it treats the harms of addiction. And so it can make a drug addict be in a better condition. And again, of course, if you're alive, you've got more chance of getting sober at some point. But if you haven't got recovery as part of the process, then you're not gonna get a lot of recovery. And again, I think Scotland proves that.

Mat (29:45.175) you

Mat (30:03.843) So we're sort of hoping...

Mat (30:08.187) So, you know, we're kind of hoping that there is some recovery solutions alongside these consumption rooms, but of course, we don't know. So you know, what would be maybe not perhaps a better alternative to the rooms, but you know, if you could suggest maybe what could accompany these rooms to aid recovery? Because as you mentioned at the start of the podcast, you know, it's always good to minimize harm. But without recovery, it's like, we're not actually treating the root cause of the problem.

lester (30:36.774) What I'm about to say...

Mat (30:37.203) So if we could do both, what might that look like?

lester (30:42.05) that would look like the Catholics funding the Protestants.

lester (30:51.366) What has the country's done? I think the death rates are going to rise in England, which they are anyway, because they've stopped funding rehabs. They've even changed the name of recovery. Recovery was mostly 12-step abstinent base. At least that was the goal. They changed the word recovery, because I think in 2015, the government said they've got to start doing recovery. They just changed the words.

They've stolen our word recovery and they've put it into any... You could be using all kinds of drugs and be in recovery.

and they've stopped funding. The harm minimalization organizations are getting all of the funding. The only funding recovery got was through 12-step rehabs.

lester (31:45.346) So start funding 12 step rehabs.

and you'll see people getting their chance of getting abstinent, but mostly what you'll see is the community filling up with people in recovery. And they're your recovery capita. They're the ones that are going to bring the death rate down and do most of the work.

lester (32:13.09) I mean, look, a lot of them people don't even stay in 12-step fellowship. They go over to harm minimalization. They go over to all different things.

lester (32:23.874) I think that they need to fund 12 step rehabs. You can't fund 12 step directly. You have to fund it indirectly through funding 12 step rehabs. Look, private rehabs aren't the same because people only stay there for short periods of time and go home. You need the long term rehabs.

because it starts populating.

Mat (32:50.659) For the listeners at home that might not know the difference, could you perhaps, could you just explain a little bit the difference perhaps between a private rehab and the 12 step rehab that you're referring to?

lester (33:02.87) Well, I think the private rehabs, that they were, not that they're not good, but they were just, mostly people would go there, if you could fund yourself, you usually got a bit of money. So they were probably only going there for short periods of time. And then they go back to their place of origin, which again, I think is one of the things that's happened in Scotland. That because they were sending people to rehab, and they would say that, we send X amount of people to rehab, but in different parts of the...

country or mostly in England. So you don't get that community grow around, you know, what you need is a 12-step rehab in the heart of Glasgow.

and then you need to leave it alone.

and let it grow and it'll start pumping out a lot of people in recovery. You'll get more AA meetings, you'll get better AA meetings, you'll get more people going out, helping people, picking them up, dropping them off, running them around, lending them money, giving them some dinner, taking them some naloxone, dropping them off here, picking them up there, you'll get more volunteers in all your services because you're getting, you know...

12-step rehabs that give people long-term, they're like recovery colleges.

lester (34:28.162) That's what I've observed twice in my life.

lester (34:33.89) But look, there was five rehabs in Norfolk and Suffolk. There's none now.

lester (34:41.966) The recovery in England is going to start sliding backwards because it's being zero funded.

because it was funding the rehabs that was creating the population for them communities which is unequaled. But you're just trying to get people to see that. See you think people coming in rehabs are just being taken off drugs, they're not. They're starting to populate a community that when that community grows they give unequaled support for free.

doesn't cost the government a penny once you get to that point. So saying spending a grand a week putting them in a rehab is expensive is like man, well you're getting back even Dane Black's report said every pound they give somebody like me the country gets a four pound return. I think that's a gross underestimation because what we do is generational. But hey mate.

If I give someone a pound and they give me four pounds back, I'll take that and do all day long.

But my question is, is why did they stop giving the pound? Why did they stop giving the fucking pound? Because they're insane and they don't respect, appreciate the value that 12-step rehabs bring because you feel like you're under attack all the time because you're not harm minimalization.

Mat (35:56.836) Happy days!

lester (36:21.13) Why are we being pitted against each other?

We're both important parts of the process, but recovery's losing the battle because harm minimalization is getting all the funding and now they've defunded treatment centers.

lester (36:43.522) They've defunded recovery. They've cut it off at the throat. Scotland never had it. That's why they got high death rates. Look, that's just my opinion, based on my experience.

lester (37:04.599) I've had a good experience in 12-step recovery, not just as a member, but as somebody that run a rehab and projects for quite a lot of years. And I could see the good that come from it in a very difficult environment, but I never felt valued.

even though they could see the good that was coming from our project. We certainly weren't being protected and when they cut the funding, they cut our throats. We lost 50% of our funding overnight. How can you... I mean, pretty much that was the end of government funded rehabs. We started all heading to the private sector.

lester (37:48.174) because it's the only way we could survive. But they pretty much pressurised us and cut our throats. Because they're such idiots who haven't got a clue what they're doing.

say that because I'm feeling really angry now because I feel really hurt and disappointed by this country, what they've done. And it just plays into the hand. Let's make, let everything get desperate and then let's do desperate measures. And again, of course, giving people drugs and standing next to them while they're taking them, that is going to bring the death rates down without a doubt. I mean, no doubt in my mind.

They're going to be going in three years. This is an incredible success. The death rates have come down. But recovery rates aren't going to go up.

Mat (38:40.327) what's the generational impact of that.

lester (38:43.362) Well, again, recovery is a thing. It's something I know that you have to fight for. The prison system I worked in didn't get it. They just kept stamping it out because they didn't understand what made it work. What made it work was the substitute for addiction is fellowship.

but they kept destroying the fellowship. That's what they did to me. I built up an incredible community, but then they just ripped the carpet from under you because they don't value it. And they don't value our difficult or respect how difficult it is to build something like that.

lester (39:29.186) And they could see the benefits from it were vast. Everybody could that had the look. But now you've got these pitted harm minimalization and recovery kind of like opposite things. And then you're battling with each other. It seems ridiculous. It's like who's creating this environment? And you think you'd look at what's working.

I keep finding what doesn't work.

So they're just moving on to the next level. And next it'll be, look, we've got all these people coming in their consumption rooms, they've got fentanyl in their drugs. Can we not just give them clean drugs?

Makes absolute sense. Is it good or not? Well, it's desperate, isn't it? Most people on drugs are desperate. It's kind of what helps make recovery work. Desperation, we call it a gift. We call desperation a gift.

lester (40:37.29) they give you drugs for it. Again, not against it, but it's not the silver bullet. Not saying abstinences. And again, I know there isn't a answer, but I've seen the reality of both. And I don't think recovery is being given anywhere near enough support. And I think, again, I think Scotland is in the state is in.

because it's not valued recovery, it's valued harm minimalization. But do your own research, tell me what you think.

I know what the old minimalisation people are going to think about what I'm saying. They're going to think I'm an idiot and don't know what I'm talking about. And I know what the recovery people are going to agree with me and think they're idiots. And again, I don't think it should be like that. I think we should acknowledge the good that both philosophies do, but neither one will do very well on its own. But if I had to choose one, I'm going 12 step. One.

Mat (41:19.828) Yeah.

lester (41:47.886) It's free from the government's interference, which is always a good thing. It's self-funding, which makes it free from the government's interference, which is a good thing. It's run by service users, not by the government, which I think is a good thing. And anything that gets away from the government is a good thing, as far as I can tell, because the government pretty much make everything hard and expensive and ultimately fail.

But that might just be because I'm a frustrated, bitter old man now. But there you go, I've had a wonderful career.

Mat (42:23.795) Well, the nice thing about these platforms is we will be uploading this to YouTube, there is a comment section and hopefully there is a forum for some discussion there. If anything what we want to do is break this tribalism one way or the other because I think like you say it all comes down to everybody trying to work together and trying to grow a better understanding of that.

It always seems like an uphill struggle when government and funding is concerned, but if we can at least create a bit of a forum for discussion within our little community here then I think we're doing a good thing.

lester (42:59.837) Yep. All right mate, I think that's enough for me today.

Mat (43:05.728) All right, well thank you so much for your time, Nesta.

lester (43:09.71) Cheers mate.