Over the course of 2017 we have an ambitious project to establish our first national network, here in the UK, of fifty-three Addiction Management Centres to provide help for alcoholism and other addictions, help that is not available either from the National Health Service or the private sector. This will be closely followed by projects in Europe, the United States and Canada, and we welcome, even at this early stage, approaches from potential partners in those countries. We expect in the next five years to establish partner projects in any country where a suitable partner is available.
It's a big project. We know that. We also know that the only way it can be done is by showing people with a drink problem, and the professionals who help them, and the media, that we really can do what we say we can do with addiction.
And the only way of showing them is to get out there and actually do it. Right now, there are hundreds of thousands of heavy drinkers, smokers and other addicts who need us to demonstrate, publicly, what Addiction Management is about and how it is going to help them. Seeing is believing, we know that, which is why in the spring of 2017 we are touring two regions of the UK publicly demonstrating what we can do.
In the trans-Pennine region we are visiting fifteen locations, covering North, South and West Yorkshire, Lancashire and north Cheshire. In the south-east we are visiting five locations in East and West Sussex.
At each location we are going to run a one-day clinic providing Addiction Management for alcohol completely free of charge, for up to ten people. That's two hundred people in total.
WHY WE NEED TO RAISE FUNDS
The Doctor Richard Mackarness Foundation is a company limited by guarantee. This makes us somewhere between a charity and a normal business. We have no shareholders, and all the profit we hope eventually to make will (and this is a legal requirement) be put straight back into developing our service to the community. Indeed, the plan is that all fifty three Centres will be owned by the communities they serve.
The cost of providing a free one-day clinic is about £1,000, and since we are planning twenty of these we need to raise £20,000. We've decided on this number because we know that this is going to give us the momentum, in terms of publicity, to go straight into our national development project. The critical point here is that the publicity will bring enough clients in subsequently, paying clients that is, for the Foundation to be self-sustaining. We don't want to have to go begging twice!
WHAT'S SPECIAL ABOUT ADDICTION MANAGEMENT?
"The work done by Dr Richard Mackarness on ... addiction back in the
1970s will one day be recognised as a major medical breakthrough.”
Rt. Hon. Lord Ennals, Secretary of State for Health 1976-9
The full details can be read on the Foundation's website (www.addictionmanagement.org.uk), but for now here is a simple explanation of why AM has so much to offer.
The key is in the second word, management. Here is an analogy which might be helpful: people who are overweight don't need to stop eating, they need to manage their eating better. Everyone is fixated on 'curing' addiction, but that's a very difficult thing to do. Instead, what AM offers addicts is a half-way house, a way to drink, smoke or eat less so that whilst they are still addicted it matters a lot less.
This is the trick the NHS is missing, because it's not a total solution, which is what they deal in. Instead, it's a tool, but it's an extremely effective tool. Think about the epidemiological facts: if everyone who drinks too much halved the amount they drink, the damage to their health would be halved, the cost to the NHS would be greatly reduced, and perhaps most importantly the destructive effect on families and society as a whole would be reduced. (And by the way when we say 'halved' this is an extremely conservative target. We can actually do much more than that.)
So what we're saying is let's look at damage limitation. That was what Dr Mackarness did, and the technique we use, which he developed, does exactly that.
Understandably, we want to make this tool available to every addict, whether it's alcohol, tobacco, chocolate or anything else. To answer our question, it's special because it's needed, it's available right now, and it works.
A FEW WORDS ABOUT THE FOUNDATION AND THE COMMUNITIES WE SERVE
The late Doctor Mackarness believed that the health of the nation was too important to depend entirely on the profit motive. At the Foundation named for him, we are perpetuating not only the genius of his understanding of addiction but his social ethic as well.
We're seeking crowdfunding because we can't fund this launch ourselves, but there is another reason as well. It is a fundamental facet of our thinking that we intend that the communities we serve will own the businesses we establish in their areas. This way, we and they can be sure that the communities' needs are always at the forefront of decisions that affect them. Giving people on the ground the opportunity to fund this launch is therefore important in this process, and we welcome everyone who contributes to The FREE Launch Tour to give us their thoughts, opinions and advice as we progress.
If you feel sufficiently moved to help us with The FREE Launch Tour, we believe you probably care about what we're doing, so we will, with your permission, enrol you in The Friends of The Doctor Richard Mackarness Foundation, and what this means is that we will take the liberty of keeping you updated on our development, both in the Launch Tour phase and subsequently in the national development phase.
WHY SUPPORT THIS PROJECT?
More than nine million people in the UK regularly drink more than the recommended limit of alcohol, but as few as one percent of people with a clinical dependence on alcohol are receiving treatment, either from the NHS or privately. Almost every family in the country has someone they care about who has a drink problem, or knows someone who knows someone who has. This project isn't about other people, it's about people you know. No matter how little you give, you can help us to do something for these people that no-one else is doing.
And as important as your money is your moral support, and this translates into telling your whole network about this.
And by the way, places on The FREE Launch Tour this spring are limited to 200 but we will reserve a guaranteed place for everyone who contributes £50 or more, at their nearest tour location. Use it for yourself, or give the place to someone you care about. To read in detail about how Addiction Management works, visit our website: www.addictionmanagement.org.uk.
THE NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PHASE
You will want to know where all of this is going, so here it is. As we mentioned earlier, we're planning a network of 53 Addiction Management Centres, providing a service in almost every county of the UK. The country will be split into 14 Groups, each one owned, through a Community Shares business, by individuals in each region. The Groups, and the locations they encompass, can be seen here and on our website.
A more detailed map of our planned network can be found on the Foundation's website: www.addictionmanagement.org.uk. We believe it is reasonable to expect that some of the supporters who help to fund the Launch Tour may want to move on to this next phase and become shareholders in their Group business. As a Friend of the Foundation you will receive news about how this phase develops, should you want to become involved.
We should add that it is unlikely these Groups will need to raise any serious funding to get launched, as we expect them to be self-sufficient, so becoming a shareholder will be not so much a financial matter as a supportive one. We believe in community ownership, and we come full circle in this proposal when we say that this is an important aspect of why we are crowdfunding for The FREE Launch Tour.
A note about the Republic of Ireland: Although we view Ireland as part of our European project, because we will be in Northern Ireland we welcome approaches, this year, from suitable partner organisations in the republic.
Thank you for reading this far. Now here's a video.