Remembering David Tomlinson

4th August 2023

We are deeply saddened to learn of the recent passing of a pioneer of addiction treatment in the UK, David Tomlinson. David was one of the key figures in the development of Phoenix Futures and a significant influence on the creation of the UK’s addiction treatment sector. 


As a graduate of the Featherstone Lodge Project, one of the UK’s first Therapeutic Communities, he went on to become Phoenix’s Chief Exec from 1977 to 1992. He developed the then nascent organisation into a broad based and highly effective charity providing harm reduction and recovery services in a wide range of settings. Throughout the 1980s heroin epidemic and Aids/HIV crisis David guided Phoenix to  develop the expertise and infrastructure to become part of a cohesive public health solution to treat addiction in the UK. David was influential in attracting government funding for Phoenix and the wider sector for harm reduction and recovery services. He also did much to address the stigma of addiction through a series of high profile arts and educational projects.  


Phoenix founder Griffith Edwards said about David 

"I think there’s no doubt he was a turning point. He was superbly objective as a leader, under his leadership, I don’t know quite how he did it, the project took off"


We are grateful for David’s leadership and we will continue to remember his influence. At Phoenix we value our history and use it to inform our future and David will always have a role in both our history and our future.