Current and former users asked to advise government on drug policy

Scotland’s drugs policy minister has announced a group including people with lived experience of drug use which will be asked to make recommendations.

Tom Eden
Thursday 27 January 2022 13:47
Current and former drug users will be part of a group to make recommendations to the Scottish Government (Paul Faith/PA)
Current and former drug users will be part of a group to make recommendations to the Scottish Government (Paul Faith/PA)

Drug addicts, people affected by substance abuse and those in recovery are being asked to make recommendations about rehabilitation services.

Scotland’s drugs policy minister Angela Constance announced a collaboration of past and present drug users, charities and third-sector organisations that will meet to suggest ideas for the Scottish Government

The National Collaborative will be led by human rights law expert Professor Alan Miller, with support from government officials in the drugs policy division.

Minister for drugs policy Angela Constance (Jane Barlow/PA)

Ms Constance said: “Successful delivery of the national mission requires a better way of listening to, and acting on, the voices of those with lived and living experience.

“The people we need to be able to reach and support are some of our most marginalised and excluded citizens and ministers have been clear that it is for those people that the national mission aims to make rights a reality.

“Delivering on such an important strand of the national mission requires someone with a successful track record on delivering change on behalf of these groups of people and Professor Miller has been a leading voice in human rights through his work as independent co-chair of the National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership and now on the Human Rights Bill Advisory Board.

“I look forward to working with Professor Miller and everybody involved in the collaborative as we focus on the actions required to tackle this public health emergency and ultimately save lives.”

I am committed to bring together and amplify the voices of experience in a way which will empower people affected by drugs

Professor Alan Miller

Prof Miller said: “I am very pleased to take up the position of chair of the National Collaborative to help improve and save lives in what is a public health emergency.

“Over the next few weeks I look forward to meeting with people with lived and living experience and with representatives from third sector and public sector partners.

“I am committed to bring together and amplify the voices of experience in a way which will empower people affected by drugs.

“This will help improve treatment and recovery services as a matter of urgency whilst also importantly help us all tackle the underlying causes of problematic drug use through anchoring in Scotland’s pending new human rights framework the rights of those affected by drugs.”

Professor Allan Miller (Scottish Government/PA)

Dave Kelly, team leader at the Change Grow, Live charity, met Ms Constance and Prof Miller at the Blackburn Recovery Cafe, one of the community activities the service runs in West Lothian.

He said: “I am someone who has lived experience. I have accessed services in the past; I know how hard it can be. I now manage a service and will always try to make things easier for those seeking support.

“I know that each person has to find the treatment which works for them, and I believe that everyone who has been through this can offer valuable insight to something like the National Collaborative and help them provide recommendations for shaping services which respond better to the needs of the people asking for help.”

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