Scottish executive pledges to tackle substance misuse

The Scottish executive is to broaden its role in tackling
substance misuse amongst parents, a senior civil servant told
delegates at Community Care Live Scotland,
writes Derren Hayes from Edinburgh.

Drew Peden, young people’s team leader in the substance
misuse division of the Scottish executive, said protecting the
children of parents with substance misuse problems and offering
them support to tackle their addiction was high on the
executive’s list or priorities over the next 12 months.

Specifically, the division is to establish a new team of experts
to develop and implement an action plan establishing best practice
in protecting children and providing support to families where
there is a drug misuse issue. It will also offer guidance to
professionals on what their practice priorities should be.

Peden said the move will see the division move from a purely
co-ordinating role into one that shapes services.

“We will set up a team in the executive with
responsibility for implementing a new action plan that is still
being examined but which we hope to publish in the spring
coinciding with the executive’s proposals on reforming the
children’s hearing system,” he explained.

The action plan has been shaped by meetings earlier in the year
with front line staff and agencies to hear their views on where
problems lay and what should be done about them.

It is believed between 4-6 per cent of Scotland’s under-16
population live with a substance misusing parent, while it is
estimated 920,000 live in an alcoholic household.

Delegates also heard that child protection and substance misuse
social workers would have to improve their collaborative working to
tackle the problem more effectively.

Joy Barlow, head of Scottish Training on Drugs and Alcohol
(STRADA) and one of the architects of good practice in field, said
bets practice guidance called Get Our Priorities Right had been
produced to help councils do this. 

“We need common assessment frameworks, more joint training
and better understanding of the common principles of practice
– we also need a commonly held concepts of what a child in
need is,” she added.

Recent reports have highlighted the lack of communication
between different professionals.


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