Health Committee hearing into the treatment and rehabilitation of drug users

22/01/2007

The Health Committee will begin its 2007 work programme by hearing from an expert panel on the treatment and rehabilitation of drug users tomorrow, 23 January.

Nine senior figures from academia, the health service and organisations with a direct interest in the treatment, rehabilitation and delivery of services to drug users will join the Committee for a round table discussion.

The effectiveness of current approaches and alternative ways to tackle the problem of drug misuse will be discussed. Cathy Jamieson MSP, the Minister for Justice, will respond to the issues raised and answer the Committee’s questions.

Committee Convener, Roseanna Cunningham, said:

"We have lined up an expert panel of senior individuals from across Scotland . Collectively, they have considerable expertise and experience in the treatment and rehabilitation of drug users and, crucially, some are involved in the day-to-day delivery of frontline services.

"Individually, the panellists represent a number of the different perspectives on this issue, some of which are controversial and at odds with current practice. The debate promises to be wide ranging, informative and lively.”

The Committee will focus its investigation on two broad areas:

  • the effectiveness of the current approach to drug treatment and rehabilitation,
  • and how we might better tackle the problem of drug misuse.

The discussion will take place in Committee Room 2 at 2pm.

Background

Participants include:

Lesley Finch, Scottish Prostitutes Education Project; Mark Frankland, Education Manager, First Base; Dave Liddell, Director, Scottish Drugs Forum; Professor Neil McKeganey, Director, Centre For Drug Misuse Research, University of Glasgow; Alex MacKinnon, Head of Parliamentary and Corporate Affairs, Scottish Pharmaceutical General Council; Stephen Moore, Association of Directors of Social Work; Catriona Renfrew, Director of Corporate Panning and Policy, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde; Dr Richard Watson, Clinical Lead for Drug Misuse, Royal College of General Practitioners Scotland; and Tom Wood, Chair, Action Team on Alcohol and Drugs.

Professor Neil McKeganey, Director, Centre For Drug Misuse Research, University of Glasgow , and Tom Wood, Chair of the Action Team on Alcohol and Drugs will each make statements at the beginning of the session. They will be followed by Rosemary Bryne MSP, whose Member’s Bill initiated this hearing.

The Treatment of Drug Users (Scotland) Bill was introduced in the Scottish Parliament on 29 September 2006 by Rosemary Bryne MSP.

On 7 November the Health Committee agreed to:

  • undertake limited scrutiny of the Treatment of Drug Users ( Scotland) Bill on the basis that it will not be possible for the Bill to complete its progress this session;
  • to hold a one-off hearing into the issues raised in the Treatment of Drug Users ( Scotland) Bill and to report to the Parliament thereafter.

This is the first in a series of three hearings and will be followed by sessions on: the implementation of the Smoking Act and smoking cessation on 6 February 2007; and the Scottish Executive’s Review of Free Personal Care on 6 March 2007.

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