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ID: HR23-209
Presenting author: Erlend Opdahl

Presenting author biography:

Erlend Opdahl. Accomplished Chef, business owner and loved father. A degree in management from Harvard. Lecturer at BI-Norwegian Business School on the topic leadership in action. Severely hurt in an accident, free falling from the 7th floor. Opioid addicted. Currently receiving Heroin Assisted Treatment in the pilot project -in Oslo.

From the stars, to the street, to the clinic and beyond. The Patient and the Nurse in the Norwegian Heroin-assisted treatment project.

Tori Staff Reiremo, Erlend Opdahl
The 5 year pilot project, located in Oslo and Bergen, are researched through a coordinated and broad approach incorporating both clinics and user organizations. The research project’s resulting evaluation will be published as a report to the Norwegian Directorate of Health, and will give a recommendation for possible continuation of the clinics. For many of the patients it's already beyond doubt a treatment that significantly improves quality of life, and possibly the first to really acknowledge the addiction as an illness.

We are one patient and one nurse from the clinic in Oslo, one year in. As a nurse in a Drug Consumption Room for the past 13 years, and as one of the users of the DCR we already knew each other from that setting.
Heroin, both as a street drug and as medicine, is the pretext for 'our collaboration. We present our views on the past, the present and the future.

As a result of being selected as a patient for the project, Erlend, and many of the other patients, has each started on individual journeys towards a different life. The fact that not all of the waking hours need to be spent on 'securing the next dose, and the money needed for said dose, has added kilos to their bodyweight, and has at least partially removed the ever-present stress of withdrawal. It has created space to dream, courage to reconnect and time to reflect. The Nurse treats the same persons in the clinic that she has assisted in the DCR. Now she has the privilege to really know the persons behind the addiction.
Research and numbers are important aspects for the decision makers, but sharing the individual stories might possibly be the true stigma breakers.
Maybe our shared goal of breaking down stigmas gets us to Melbourne?