Pubdate: Sat, 25 May 2002
Source: Scotsman (UK)
Copyright: The Scotsman Publications Ltd 2002
Author: Jill Stevenson


THE Scottish Executive launched its latest drugs initiative yesterday, 
targeting the families of abusers.

A two-day conference in Glasgow played host to more than 100 people in a 
move which aims to focus on the problems experienced by those living with 
an abuser.

The national event, hosted by Argyll and Clyde Alcohol and Drug Action 
Team, is the first to take into account the experiences of family members 
rather than professionals.

Recent statistics revealed there were an estimated 55,800 problematic drug 
users in Scotland. The research also indicated that drug misuse affected 
communities throughout Scotland as a whole and not simply in urban areas.

The Scottish Executive has invested significant resources on tackling drug 
misuse within recent years, with ?128 million spent on treatment services 
since 1999.

Dr Richard Simpson, the deputy justice minister, acknowledged the key role 
families could play in tackling the sensitive issues of drug addiction.

He said: "The role of the family in tackling drug misuse and supporting 
their relatives through their addiction is vital in minimising the 
isolation drug users can so often feel.

"Drug use can affect everyone in our communities and it is crucial that 
those who live with it day in and day out feel able to provide a local 
solution to the problem by working with the drug action teams.

"We have also invested funds to enable community groups such as those 
coming to the conference to come up with ideas to help tackle drug misuse 
in their area. Local people are in an ideal position to design and put in 
place anti-drugs projects which are tailored to meet local needs and 

Eleanor Robertson, chairperson of Argyll and Clyde Alcohol and Drug Action 
Team, said: "It is heartening to see drug action teams across Scotland 
engaging with family support groups. The backing of the Scottish Executive 
also demonstrates the importance of families as part of a wider community 
action to tackle drug problems."
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