Alcohol treatment must be given priority in substance misuse strategies

The member of the Scottish parliament who suggested that the children of drug-misusing parents should be taken into care caused a storm all right, but the same recommendation in the case of alcohol abuse would have brought a hurricane down on the hapless MSP’s head. Meanwhile, MPs on the Commons science and technology committee have been told that the
drugs classification system has more to do with prejudice than sound science. If it were a genuine league of harmful substances, alcohol would be right up there in division one.

The unsafe, old assumptions – the ones that don’t trouble the spirits (in either sense) of our public leaders – were on display again in the Probation Inspectorate report on substance misuse work with offenders. The glass, it couldn’t resist saying, was half full and half empty. Whereas there has been an “enormous” improvement in the availability of treatment for drug-misusing
offenders, the report concludes, treatment for alcohol misusers continues to be scarce. Until alcohol treatment is given priority in substance misuse strategies, we will not have faced the fact that, as well as the greatest of social lubricants, alcohol is the greatest of social menaces.

Additional reading
Prison treatments get partial roll-out

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