Take a a look at our exciting programme and the wide range of subjects we are covering. 

Click on each speaker’s name to find out more about them

Welcome and introduction

Carl is an award-winning journalist who has worked in the West Midlnds for most of his life, in print, radio and TV. He currently produces and presents weekly business and news review shows on Made In Birmingham

Jane is the founder of Share Shrewsbury, and she established this conference in order to highlight the issues which led to her daughter Amy’s death. For Jane, this conference carries an important message about changes that need to happen in order prevent others dying, as Amy did.

Why alcohol is the most dangerous drug known to man

David is one of most controversial leaders in the field of alcohol research, and his brilliantly honest approach towards revealing the truth about alcohol has won him a global following. We can expect to be enlightened, enthralled, and perhaps even shocked, by his presentation.

David will provide an overview of what alcohol actually is, why we enjoy it so much and how it affects the human body, relationships and society. He will examine how the damaging impact of alcohol on individuals and communities has been hidden from the general public.

Latest breakthroughs in alcohol research

 Kate and Rayyan will be presenting their exciting new research, with the aim of increasing our knowledge about the impact of alcohol on the human mind.

Kate and Rayyan are undertaking their PhDs at Imperial College London. They are key members of Professor Nutt’s research team and work closely with him at the forefront of addiction research.

Their presentation will include time for Q & A’s.

Alcohol addiction, the brain and healing the broken mind

Markus is one of the most highly regarded addiction researchers of our generation. For the past decade, he has led one of the largest research programs on addictive disorders in the world and will be revealing his groundbreaking brain imaging research.

Markus will talk about addiction, how it presents in the brain, and the latest brain imaging research proving the changes that alcohol makes to the brain structure and how this affects the personality and mental health. He will talk about the relationship between addiction and childhood trauma and how this should be reflected in the support offered to sufferers.

His presentation will include time for Q & A’s.

Growing up with alcohol and how Government policy must change

Speaker: Jon Ashworth MP

Jon grew up in a family, scarred by his father’s addiction to alcohol. He became Labour’s longest running Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, and uses his experience to campaign for changes in government drug and alcohol policy. Live Q & A’s

County lines, alcohol and young lives lost

Speaker: Sonya Jones

Sonya’s dedication towards supporting children affected by alcohol dependence is renowned. Her work to expose the damage caused by county lines and to address the exploitation of vulnerable children in Shropshire has been recognised nationally.

She is manager of the young persons drug and alcohol service in Shropshire and will be using real case studies to illustrate the issues faced by children. Sonya will explain what more needs to be done to raise awareness about the dangers of alcohol.

Her presentation will include time for Q & A’s.

Lunch break

How stigma kills - changing how we talk about addiction

James’s research into stigma, and the language used to describe alcohol addiction, is fascinating. His popular podcast, “ The alcohol ‘problem’ podcast” includes academic and lived experiences on the nature of alcohol use and problems.

James will be talking about the impact of stigmatising language, and how this can prevent harmful drinkers from change. He’ll discuss his research into problem recognition amongst harmful drinkers, and he will share ideas to help change the way we talk and think about alcohol problems

His presentation will include time for Q & A’s

Drinkers like me

Speaker: Adrian Chiles

Adrian is a well-known face and voice from television and radio. He documented his personal experience with alcohol in the BBC2 Horizon programme –Drinkers Like Me”  in 2019. He has talked candidly in media interviews and articles about his own struggles with anxiety and depression, as well as the impact on his life of a late diagnosis of ADD. 

He will be sharing his own journey into alcohol dependence with us, and talking about his views on reduced drinking.

His presentation will include time for Q & A’s.

Speaker: Richard Piper

Richard is the CEO of Alcohol Change UK and he will be sharing his story and introducing Lauren Booker and Mike Ward, who are both consultants for the charity.

Supporting staff and customers suffering with alcohol dependence

Speakers: Wrekin House Group - Hannah Roberts and Sian Parry

Wrekin Housing Group is one of the biggest providers of social housing in the West Midlands. Hannah and Sian will be talking about the ways in which alcohol dependance affects both their 26,000 customers and 1200 staff, and how they seek to address this.

Drinking at work, how businesses can better support their staff

Speaker: Lauren Booker

Lauren Booker is a leading expert on addressing work based drinking and works with businesses to develop effective policies and practices that tackle the impact of alcohol in the workplace. She will explain how and why businesses should support their workforce who struggle with alcohol dependence. She will talk about how a well-trained and supported workforce is better equipped to support individuals to recover well and live their best lives.

Her presentation will include time for Q & A’s

Safeguarding vulnerable drinkers - saving lives

Speaker: Mike Ward

The key driver behind the nationally acclaimed Blue Light project, Mike is acknowledged as the leading expert in understanding the behaviour of drinkers who are resistant to change. He co-wrote the groundbreaking Learning From Tragedies report, which has highlighted the fact that the role of alcohol is being “missed or poorly managed” in the care of vulnerable adults, contributing to their deaths

Mike will talk about the importance of putting safeguarding measures in place to protect vulnerable dependent drinkers. Disputing the idea that sufferers should be left to reach rock bottom, he will also be talking about the controversial “Blue Light Project”.

His presentation will include time for Q & A’s.

Surviving alcohol withdrawal - a life and death situation

Matthew Tranter is a forensic police examiner and lecturer in medicine at the University of Oxford, Matthew will explain everything you need to know about alcohol withdrawal and detox. He will give practical top tips on how to safely support someone through this experience.

His presentation will include time for Q & A’s

Introduction to workshops

Six Workshops

  1. Can we embrace both abstinence and reduced drinking as recovery choices? Discussion led by Chip Somers and Philippe Bonnet
  2. The Sinclair method and Nalmefene – is this a neglected treatment choice? Discussion led by Dr Matthew Tranter and John Bale
  3. Armed Forces Veterans and addiction. The role and function of alcohol in military culture. Barriers to veterans seeking help and how to overcome them. Discussion led by Dr Esther Riggs and Glyn Owen
  4. Creativity and recovery.  Discussion led by Beth Abbott and Ed Oakley
  5. Why a mindset shift is key to complete control over alcohol and why this is   better than willpower or the traditional abstinence approaches. Discussion led by Sandra Parker. 
  6. The role of friends and family in recovery. Discussion led by Rob Stebbings.

Closing remarks

Click on each speaker’s name to find out more about them

Welcome and review of day one

How to recover from alcohol addiction

Speaker: Doctor Ed Day - Keynote speaker

Ed Day  is our National Recovery Champion, and has been overseeing the development of the long awaited National Drugs Strategy for the UK.

He will be announcing the main recommendations, and talking about the need for experts by profession, experts by experience, business and local communities to work together to promote recovery. Why we must improve the way that we support individuals suffering with alcohol addiction to reflect the latest research, and why friends and family are crucial for successful recovery.

His presentation will include time for Q & A’s

Jane Mackenzie

Darkness to light

Speaker: Steve Duncan

Steve is a published spoken word poet and has previously been commissioned by the BBC. He will be sharing his own recovery journey and will be powerfully delivering words to challenge and to give hope. Lived ex 

All together now - family centred recovery

Alex Copello’s research has had a major impact on addiction treatment across the UK. His work on the integration of substance misuse treatment into Mental Health services is now being implemented nationally.

He is passionate about the need assess sufferers holistically, and to involve families in recovery. He will describe his ground breaking social and family interventions and 5 step  approach, which have been adopted by the NICE guidelines for use for commissioning services for carers.

His presentation will include time for Q & A’s

Dispelling unhelpful myths and turning alcohol treatment on it’s head

Susan is an author, speaker and mental health advocate, specifically relating to alcohol issues and alcohol dependence. After trying everything to cure her addiction to alcohol, and failing, she finally turned to psychotherapist, Tim, as a last resort. His unique approach worked for her, and has for many others too. Together they will talk about this method and about alcohol addiction and the mind.

Lunch break - Carl in conversation with hypnotherapist Tim Phizacherley

Spotlight on services in Shropshire

Speakers: Rachel Robinson

Rachel is the Executive Director of Health, Wellbeing and Prevention at Shropshire Council.
We will hear an overview of drug and alcohol services across Shropshire, and how they reflect the latest advancements in treatment.
Her presentation will include time for Q&As

Spotlight on Telford and Wrekin

Speakers: Tony Mercer, Richard Leith and Carrie Mackenzie

Tony is the new senior public health commissioner for Telford and Wrekin Council. He works with Richard to oversee the delivery of drug and alcohol services for the region. He will focus on grass roots peer support and mutual aid and will be joined by will be joined by Carrie, the local manager at TACT ( Telford Aftercare Team) who will talk about the inspirational work being carried out at Strickland House, Wellington.

Operation Courage: Supporting veterans with alcohol addiction

Esther and Glyn will be talking about Operation Courage, working in partnership with the NHS, supporting armed forces veterans suffering with alcohol addiction.

Surviving childhood with an addicted mum

Speaker: Camilla Tominey

Camilla will share her powerful personal story of life growing up with a mother who was addicted to alcohol.

She is an associate editor at The Telegraph, and a Patron of the national charity, NACOA. We are fortunate that she will be answering live Q & A’s following her presentation.

The family and the addict

Speaker: Viv Evans OBE

Viv is currently leading a national campaign, “The Silent Five Million” which is calling for the role of family and friends in supporting those suffering with alcohol addiction to be recognised.

She is the Chief Executive of Adfam, the national charity supporting the loved ones of those struggling with drug and alcohol dependency. She will be talking about the impact of substance misuse on family and friends, how they need to be recognised as deserving support in their own right, and the role this “silent five million” can play in a loved one’s recovery. Her presentation will include time for Q & A’s.

Alcohol kills - escaping the grip of addiction

Speakers: Stuart

Stuart’s story shows the relentless grip that alcohol can exert. Stuart was from a good home and had a grammar school education, but his life changed after his first alcoholic drink at 14 years of age. This led to 25 years of alcoholic drinking, during which time he lost everything.

Shropshire Recovery Partnership

Speakers: Sophie Morgan and Alex Jubb

Sophie will be talking about Shropshire Recovery Partnership as a whole. Alex Jubb is a lived experience worker supporting women, especially through the detox process. She will be talking about her experience of accessing Shropshire Recovery service to then volunteering, to then the post she is in, and what a difference she is making to those accessing treatment with Alcohol Issues.

Where do we go from here?

Speaker: Chip Somers

Chip is a former Government advisor on drug policy and, expert counsellor, founder of Focus 12 rehabilitation centre and trustee of Share Shrewsbury. Chip will summarise the  state of drug and alcohol services in England and outline what needs to change.

His presentation will include time for Q & A’s

Closing remarks