08 March 2022
Audit Scotland has published an update on drug and alcohol services.
The report advocates an overarching plan to address the root causes of Scotland’s high levels of problem substance use and drug overdose deaths. It endorses SDF’s analysis that these issues are based in poverty and economic and consequent health inequalities and demands a broad policy approach.
David Liddell, CEO, Scottish Drugs Forum:
“The report is welcome and no one should be comfortable with what it has to say. We face huge challenges in Scotland with inter-related issues that demand a policy approach covering early years support to children and families, poverty, health, criminal justice and employability. What we have currently is confused. As just one example, we are trying to understand problem drug use as a public health issue but are still imprisoning more people than elsewhere in Europe – and many of those prisoners’ real issues are around substance use and mental health.
“The policy field is confused and confusing. Even with a narrow focus in the drugs field we have a recent strategy, Rights Respect and Recovery; we have the National Mission and later this year we will have the final report from the Drug Deaths Task Force with their own recommendations. As Audit Scotland recommends, there should be a process that shows how the aims and actions in these link together.
“There are wider policy issues that relate to problem drug use. Large numbers of people with a drug problem have been in care and have been parented by the state. Delivery of the Scottish Government’s The Promise, therefore, is a key element in drug prevention. In terms of early deaths, delivery of better outcomes in preventing and addressing homelessness is crucial.”