Drug and alcohol misuse in Scotland could be halved within 20 years by shifting more resources towards prevention and treatment, experts say.
A year-long investigation by think-tank Scotland’s Futures Forum criticised the “heavy bias” of funding towards enforcement. The report by academics and leaders from business, health, charities and community sectors, called for large-scale investment in early years’ education and more support for recovery programmes.
It also urged the Scottish government and local licensing board to end “irresponsible” alcohol promotions on all licensed premises. Other recommendations included a new regulatory framework for substances, including alcohol, tobacco, prescribed medicines and other legal drugs that would take into account the harm they caused.
Frank Pignatelli, chair of the report’s project board, said: “The forum has concluded that significantly reducing the damage caused by drug and alcohol misuse is possible with strong leadership, honest debate and sophisticated, flexible policy approaches based on what works.”
Tom Wood, vice-chair of the report’s project board, said the first Scottish drugs strategy, published last week and backed by £94m, had “laid the foundations for change”.