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Children of Drug Abusers

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 5:32 pm on 16th September 2004.

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Photo of Hugh Henry Hugh Henry Labour 5:32 pm, 16th September 2004

Trish Godman spoke eloquently and movingly about the heartbreak that we see all too often in many communities in Scotland. It is nothing short of a tragedy to see so many children suffering so much, their lives blighted, and sometimes destroyed, when they have hardly started. Speakers such as Kenny MacAskill are right to point out the complexity of the problem that confronts us. I wish to God that there were an easy answer, so that we could simply say that by this time next year—or even, as Trish Godman said, in five years' time—we would have a solution, but we know that it is not as simple as that.

Keith Raffan, whose comments were echoed by Kenny MacAskill, was right to remind us that, although what we are debating tonight is the problem of children of drug misusers, there is still a huge and fundamental problem with alcohol abuse in Scotland. That problem blights far too many families and far too many children.

I can stand before members tonight and give some account of the extra money that we are spending and the initiatives that we are taking, and I shall do that, but I want to preface my remarks by saying that the nature of the problem is such that, no matter how much we spend, there will still be a problem before us unless, as Kenny MacAskill said, we start to confront some of the wider societal and cultural problems.