We welcome the Scottish Affairs Committee’s current Inquiry into the Use and Misuse of Drugs in Scotland, and the opportunity to participate in the process. We have submitted written evidence, and will also be giving evidence along with family members to the Scottish Affairs Committee at Westminster on 21 May 2019.
The new national strategy in Scotland, ‘Rights, Respect and Recovery’ introduces what we have described as ‘transformational rights’ for families affected by a loved one’s alcohol or drug use. 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.
We know that this strategy does not yet reflect reality for thousands of families across Scotland, and has come too late for the many families who have lost a loved one to alcohol or drugs. However it is an important platform for change and improvement, and we are working hard with families and others to ensure that these new strategy commitments are delivered and that families’ new rights look and feel real on the ground.
Much of this change can be delivered within the current legislative and policy framework in Scotland, for example requiring shifts in culture, resource allocation, and service design. However, there are important areas, as raised by the Scottish Affairs Committee, where wider change is required.
This response to the Scottish Affairs Committee is informed by our experiences of supporting and campaigning with families, and by conversations with family members about the Committee’s specific questions.