Addiction

– in the Scottish Parliament on 22nd March 2011.

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Photo of Bill Wilson Bill Wilson Scottish National Party

5. To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on the view of the Canadian expert on addiction, Professor Bruce K Alexander, and of many Scottish drugs workers, that addiction should be viewed as a response to psychosocial dislocation largely caused by the disruptive effects of the economic system and that it is unhelpful to demonise either individual substances or people. (S3O-13469)

Photo of Fergus Ewing Fergus Ewing Scottish National Party

There is much in what Professor Alexander says.

Photo of Bill Wilson Bill Wilson Scottish National Party

Is the Government willing to amend the drugs strategy, acknowledging that addiction and recovery from addiction are socially determined phenomena, which require, in addition to treatment and support of the individual, a commitment to an economic strategy that enhances psychosocial integration? Therefore, will the Government commit to phasing out gross domestic product as the main measure of economic progress—a measure that takes no account of inequality and other dislocating factors?

Photo of Fergus Ewing Fergus Ewing Scottish National Party

The drugs strategy “The Road to Recovery: A New Approach to Tackling Scotland’s Drug Problem” already takes account of the economic links between drug addiction and poverty. As for the member’s suggestion that we abolish GDP, I have to say that that decision is slightly above my pay grade—at least at the current time.

However, just yesterday on my last ministerial engagement—at least for the time being—I had the pleasure of visiting Cothrom Eile, which is funded by the Mungo Foundation and provides just the kind of facility that we need.

I pay tribute to Bill Wilson for the passionate, articulate and informed way in which he has championed the cause of tackling poverty in this Parliament.

Photo of Margo MacDonald Margo MacDonald Independent

Thank you, Presiding Officer. Try and follow that!

I ask of the cabinet secretary and whoever is the cabinet secretary in the next session that they look again at how drugs are classified and that they carry out a study into who uses them, when, where, why and why they stop. We have never looked at that properly. I hope that the next cabinet secretary will undertake such a study.

Photo of Fergus Ewing Fergus Ewing Scottish National Party

I acknowledge Margo MacDonald’s lifetime interest in these matters and pay tribute to the work that she has done. This Parliament does not have power over the classification of illegal drugs—would that it did—but we certainly work constructively with the Westminster Government on all these matters. I thank all parties in the Parliament and all members for the approach that they have taken to “The Road to Recovery”, which has seen us all work together to try to deal with the scourge of drug addiction in Scotland.