Charity organisations have backed a move to enshrine the rights of those living with addiction to access treatment.
A Bill has been launched by the Scottish Conservatives which aims to help people with a drugs and/or alcohol addiction to access the treatment they need.
It would place a legal obligation on ministers, health boards and others to provide treatment.
And it would also require the establishment of reporting arrangements so that the quality and access of treatment provided can be monitored and reported to the Scottish Parliament.
The legislation was developed in response to the drugs deaths crisis in Scotland.
Figures by the National Records of Scotland figures showed that 1339 people lost their lives to drugs Scotland in 2020.
A consultation was held by the Scottish Conservatives to seek views over their ‘Right to Recovery Bill’ between October 2021 and January 2022.
Having now published the responses to their consultation, the party said that around 77% of those who responded were supportive of the Bill.
Of those, 64% of responses were ‘fully supportive’ of the proposal, whilst a further 13% said they were ‘partially supportive’.
In responses gathered under the consultation, a number of charity organisations from across Scotland also outlined their support for the legislation.
Annemarie Ward, chief executive of Favor (Faces and Voices of Recovery) Scotland, urged MSPs from across the parties to back the Bill.
“We are delighted to see how well this Bill has been received by those who understand what it will take to change Scotland’s failing treatment system,” she said.
“When passed it will bring much-needed further investment to make sure those individuals and families suffering have choice and access to the types of services that can help us heal.
“This Bill brings Scotland’s treatment system and services kicking and screaming out of their inertia and into the light of what’s possible when we listen to those with lived experience who have found recovery.
“We are very proud to have taken it to this stage and we hope all of Scotland’s MSPs will help our country heal by making sure it gets over the line.”
In its response, Recovery Enterprises Scotland said: “There is a clear requirement for this Bill as the landscape around addressing addiction and recovery has failed miserably over the past 14 years since the concept of recovery was introduced within the cross party Road to Recovery strategy.”
The Church of Scotland also voiced its support for the proposals set out.
They said: “We strongly welcome this holistic approach and the recognition that there needs to be a comprehensive continuum of services available.”
And Scottish Tenants Organisation added: ‘If this Bill is seriously backed by everyone it will make a valuable contribution to a healthy and better society for all of our citizens.
“This Bill could leave a positive legacy for the nation of Scotland in seriously reducing drug-related deaths.”
Scottish Conservative health spokesman Dr Sandesh Gulhane described the Bill as “common-sense”, with input from experts.
“Scotland’s appalling drugs-death statistics shame the nation. They are the worst in Europe and we have a moral duty to act to stem the tragic and needless loss of lives,” he said.
“We believe Right to Recovery is a crucial part of the solution and I’m delighted to see the extremely positive response to it from stakeholders, who recognise it’s a common-sense Bill drawn up in consultation with experts in the addiction field.
“At the moment, too many people with addiction problems are unable to access the help they need, but this legislation would enshrine in law their right to receive potentially life-saving treatment, including residential rehab.
“I urge the government to finally get on board with this legislation so we can start fixing Scotland’s broken treatment system.”
Andy, who has been using drugs since childhood, has praised the Bill.
He told STV News: “I started using drugs and alcohol at the age of 12.
“Cannabis, slowly progressed to ecstasy, cocaine, Valium, but my main addiction is heroin.
“It’s took me to some very dark places. Prison in a few occasions, hospitals, sepsis. I have almost died a few times,
“But I always imagined that I could beat this illness by myself.
“Until very recently I started going to a recovery cafe and that’s when I realised I’d lost all control. So, I’ve come here in the last month and it’s been great.
I feel safe. I’ve got a purpose to get up in the morning and I feel like I’m really starting to get better.
“I think that will be the time I get better. There is so much money getting channelled into treating, managing addictions should I say.
“Methadone scripts, whatever else, when really I think the money should be turned round and used for things like this.”
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