There is now a wide acceptance of the use of mindfulness based approaches in the treatment of mental health problems. From other parts of the world there is a growing body of evidence for the use of mindfulness based approaches, notably compassion-based mindfulness based approaches, in the treatment of problematic substance use.

For instance, Bowen et al (2014) conducted a randomised trial comparing Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention with two active treatment controls, standard relapse prevention (RP) and treatment as usual (12-step approach). This found that at the 12-month follow-up the mindfulness based approach showed significantly better results than either of the other two conditions. There is growing evidence that mindfulness based approaches can provide better outcomes than ‘treatment as usual’ for individuals struggling with their use of substances. What is more there is a sound theoretical basis for why that might be the case. However, there is a striking lack of take up and investigation of these approaches in the UK – despite having the potential to be a cost effective and empowering approach that could.

An explicit goal of our approach would be to grow the evidence base for the use of these approaches in the UK, and further to develop a unique UK appropriate approach by using a mixture of pilot studies moving to more rigorously evaluated longer term approaches. Our unique mix of personnel gives us the ability to do this.