Scotland will help people with drug and alcohol addictions by treating wider problems such as housing and employment and supporting their families.
The SNP Government’s strategy for preventing and reducing drug and alcohol-related harm, Rights, Respect and Recovery, makes clear that Scotland will take a health approach to substance misuse and ensure services treat people as individuals.
This includes diverting drug users out of the criminal justice system where appropriate. The strategy also emphasises education and early intervention for young people and those most at risk of becoming addicted to alcohol or drugs.
Public Health Minister Joe FitzPatrick MSP said:
“Improving how we support people harmed by drugs and alcohol is one of the hardest and most complex problems we face. Nevertheless, the ill-health and deaths caused by substance misuse are avoidable and we must do everything we can to prevent them. This means treating people and all their complex needs, not just the addiction, tackling the inequalities and traumas behind substance misuse, and intervening early to prevent people at risk.
“We are supporting this strategy with an additional £20 million a year on top of our existing investment in drug and alcohol treatment and prevention. We want to see innovative, evidence-based approaches, regardless of whether these make people uncomfortable.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“Fewer people are using drugs and drinking alcohol to excess particularly young people. However, while problematic use of alcohol is declining across the whole population, it is increasing among older adults and there is an ageing population for whom drug use has become more harmful.
“In 2017, NHS Ayrshire & Arran saw the number of drug-related deaths drop from 85 to 61, a 28% decline. It is heartening that lives were saved in Ayrshire and Arran thanks to the tireless work of dedicated professionals. However, it is clear that we need to continue our efforts as a society to prevent drug and alcohol related deaths and the SNP Government is working with a range of partners to achieve that.”