In memory of Rowdy Yates

We are deeply saddened by the news that our friend and colleague Rowdy Yates passed away. Through work in the field of addiction and recovery, we had the opportunity to work closely with him. Rowdy supported our work and was a speaker at many of our conferences.

Rowdy has worked in the field of addiction and recovery for over forty years and as he himself said:

… During my career, I have had the privilege of experiencing the field of addiction treatment, as a user / client, employee, manager, researcher and educator!

He was the Executive Director of the European Working Group on Drugs Oriented Research (EWODOR) and the President of the European Federation of Therapeutic Communities (EFTC). His work experience includes a position as a senior researcher at the University of Stirling in Scotland, and the leader of the group “Scottish Addiction Studies” at the School of Applied Social Sciences, University of Stirling. He was the co-founder and director of the Lifeline project, one of the oldest specialist services in this field in the UK.

In 1994 he was awarded the MBE for services to the prevention of drug addiction, in 2012 he was made a Phoenix Futures Honorary Graduate and in 2018 he was presented with the William O’Brien Award for excellence by the World Federation of Therapeutic Communities

He was the author of numerous papers on addiction and advocate for a model of therapeutic communities and a bio-psychosocial model which argues that addiction is an interaction that includes the biological, psychological, and social domains. According to him, effective interventions must increase the resources of people in all three domains, and therapeutic communities do so in a systematic way. In one interview, he said:

TC does it systematically. Restores good physical health, teaches positive reactions to cravings, encourages effective comorbidity management. It improves self-esteem by achieving goals, controlling impulses and celebrating success and good behavior.

Rowdy will be remembered for his enormous contributions to the addiction recovery field, but also for his striking personality, humor and music. May he rest in peace!

Author: Mulka Nisic

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