'Ripping up the rulebook': Experiments in post-pandemic substance use treatment


  • Dr Fay Dennis

    Goldsmiths, University of London, United Kingdom

Project summary

UK death rates from both drug- and alcohol-specific reasons are at their highest ever level. Moreover, there are ongoing HIV outbreaks among injecting drug users, and alcohol-related liver disease is rising steeply. As Covid-19 works to ?expose and amplify? existing inequalities, the fear is that these deaths/harms will increase further. However, Covid-regulations have also brought drastic changes to treatment provision, including long-sought flexibilities in options and regimes. Prominent practitioners refer to these as 'ripping up the rulebook' and a great 'natural experiment'. I will study these experimental practices and what they open-up for improving treatment attractiveness and responsiveness (to diverse needs). I will do this by surveying UK services, conducting ethnographic inquiry at specific sites, and facilitating theatre-based workshops with key stakeholders to provoke new thinking and action, which will then be developed into a play and film for engaging wider policy and practice audiences for engendering lasting change.