Rights, Respect, Recovery – An Opportunity to Transform Family Support across Scotland

Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs (Scottish Families) today welcomes the publication of ‘Rights, Respect, Recovery’, Scotland’s new alcohol and drugs strategy.

The strategy’s vision of a right to health and the right to a life free from the harms of alcohol and drugs are applied equally to people using alcohol and drugs and to their family members for the first time. Families now have the right to support in their own right and the right to be involved in their loved one’s treatment and support as appropriate.

‘Rights, Respect and Recovery’ recognises that families come in many shapes and sizes, but that they can play a vital role in treatment and recovery, even where relationships are fragile or damaged. Families are acknowledged as assets and as Key Partners in the Strategy and are to be involved in the planning, development and delivery of services locally, regionally and nationally. And the growing family recovery community is to receive ongoing support through the Scottish Government’s Family Recovery Initiative Fund.

Justina Murray, CEO, stated:

“For the first time, we have a rights-based strategy which places families affected by alcohol and drugs at its heart. This includes families having the right to health and a life free from the harms of alcohol and drugs; the right to be treated with dignity and respect; and the right to support in their own right. These are transformational rights for families in Scotland.

Families have helped to shape this strategy, and throughout this process their message has been loud, clear and consistent. For many years they have been excluded from their loved one’s care and treatment; been stigmatised by services and communities; and denied support in their own right. It is time for change.

‘Rights, Respect and Recovery’ will come too late for thousands of families who have lost a loved one to alcohol or drugs over the past ten years. We need to seize this opportunity to transform support across Scotland before another life is lost, and to reshape treatment and recovery in partnership with family members. Families deserve this new national strategy, but it must be meaningful and look and feel real at community level. We will work with families across Scotland to ensure they know about these new rights, and can claim them for themselves.”

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