Paolo Pertica


Dave Marsden – Combat Stress

Dave is a qualified Mental Health Nurse, qualifying in 1999 from the University of Central Lancashire. Prior to that he had had various roles in acute psychiatric intensive care units. Following several years working in forensic mental health he began to specialise in substance misuse and the crossover between Mental Health, Substance Misuse and Criminal Justice, including running Drug Rehabilitation Requirements in Blackpool as part of the well regarded Tower Project.

In 2014 he embarked on a secondment with Combat Stress, a veterans’ mental health charity, to pilot a service to enable and encourage veterans with military- related PTSD and substance misuse issues to access the services they need, in order to address these complex issues: issues that neither drug services, criminal justice services, nor mainstream mental health services alone were able to address.

Before long it became clear that there were many veterans becoming lost in the criminal justice system due to undiagnosed PTSD, complicated by substance misuse, and that their substance misuse was preventing them from accessing quality treatment for their PTSD issues. Veterans are the single largest professional group involved with the criminal justice system. The project that Dave has been key in developing aims to target veterans who may have been misdiagnosed, or undiagnosed, in order to ensure that they receive the treatment they deserve (prevention) or the diagnosis they need (diversion) in order they receive optimum care packages.

He was given this year’s the Paolo Pertica award for his innovative approach in developing care pathways, which led to swifter diagnosis of PTSD, allowing a more effective multi-agency response for those in need of help.


Recipients of the Award

2019 United Kingdom

Ross Coomber

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2018 Moldova

Dumitru Laticevschi

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2017 Australia

Dr Ingrid van Beek AM

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2016 United Kingdom

Dave Marsden
Combat Stress

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2015 Catalunya

Programme on Substance Abuse of the Agència de Salut Pública

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2014 United Kingdom

The National Ugly Mugs Project

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2013 Iran

Dr Mohamad Shahbazi

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2012 Scotland

The Scottish Violence Reduction Unit

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Tijana Pavicevic


Saman Zamani


Marina Goloviznina
(Russian Federation)


Elena Grigoryeva
Paolo Pertica
Paolo worked within a number of drug service providers, managing a wide range of services for drug users, most of who were in prison, or being dealt with within other parts of the criminal justice system. Amongst these organisations was the Prisoners Resource Service, where he was the Service Manager. The work of this pioneering service provided much of the model adopted by HM Prison Service to develop their CARAT services and was seen by colleagues in other countries involved in EDIPP as an effective approach. Paolo travelled extensively to provide consultancy and training for these colleagues and is still held in high esteem by many of them.

Moving away from service delivery and also away from London in 2001 relocating to Blackpool, Paolo latterly worked as a senior manager in the commissioning and strategic development of a range of services, including in the fields of drugs and crime reduction and spending his free time fishing and supporting Blackpool Football Club.

Sadly Paolo passed away in 2019, leaving behind his wife and two children. Together they decided that they would like to see the award continue in his memory and we are delighted to be able to do this.