Alcohol Services (Funding)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 15th June 2022.

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Photo of Miles Briggs Miles Briggs Conservative

1.

To ask the Scottish Government whether it plans to allocate any funding specifically for alcohol services, in addition to that allocated to alcohol and drug partnerships for drugs services. (S6O-01215)

Photo of Maree Todd Maree Todd Scottish National Party

We are currently working in partnership with Simon Community Scotland to pilot and evaluate an innovative managed alcohol programme for people who experience homelessness.

Funding allocated to alcohol and drug partnerships—ADPs—is for both alcohol and drug treatment services. In 2021-22, ADPs and health boards received more than £106 million for alcohol and drug services. That funding is used to ensure that services meet the needs of people who experience alcohol as well as drug harms, and it includes preventative approaches.

Photo of Miles Briggs Miles Briggs Conservative

I thank the minister for his answer. Although the Scottish Government stated that it recognises the twin public emergencies of drug deaths and alcohol harms, it stated earlier this month that it has no plans to introduce alcohol-specific treatment targets until 2024. I think that that is unacceptable. In 2020, the number of people who tragically died because of alcohol increased by 17 per cent to 1,190. Will the Scottish Government now rethink its approach and introduce specific treatment targets?

Photo of Maree Todd Maree Todd Scottish National Party

Alcohol and drug-related harms are both important public health issues in Scotland, which is why we established a national mission to improve and save lives. At the core of that national mission is ensuring that every individual is able to access the treatment and recovery that they choose. We are working to ensure that people with alcohol use disorder continue to receive the same quality of care as those who experience problematic drug use.

The forthcoming alcohol treatment guidelines will provide support for alcohol treatment that is similar to the medication assisted treatment—MAT—standards for drugs. We are developing alcohol treatment targets alongside stage 2 of the implementation of drugs targets, in 2024. I am more than happy to hear from the member should he think that there are things we are not tackling in our approach to alcohol issues, but I am very comfortable with the work that we are doing and the learning that we are gaining from the work that is being done in tackling our drug challenges.