Free Church Responds to Addiction Recovery Consultation

Douglas Ross’ proposed Bill has been welcomed by the Free Church Public Engagement Group as a “good first step”.

The Public Engagement Group of Free Church of Scotland has responded to the consultation on Douglas Ross’ Proposed Right to Addiction Recovery (Scotland) Bill.

The group welcomed the proposals as they seek to remove some of the many blockages and barriers which currently prevent those suffering from addiction from accessing treatment. Whilst we recognise that not all barriers can be removed, for example mental health issues may prevent someone engaging with treatment, removing as many barriers as possible is a good thing. There is no silver bullet for dealing with addiction, but we fully support these proposals as being a step in the right direction.

The proposals move us towards a truly person-centred approach to support. This is the approach that Jesus took in Mark’s gospel. In Mark 10:51 Jesus asked the blind man, “What do you want me to do for you?” demonstrating a person-centred approach to help. A person-centred approach increases the buy-in from the person as they feel they are being listened to and they are more likely to stick with a program they have chosen. In our view support must be person-centred.

The proposals also highlight the importance of a partnership approach to dealing with addiction and in their response the group highlight the importance of a holistic approach to care which includes faith-based and explicitly Christian based approaches. Many people desire a specifically Christian based recovery programme and there is a lot of evidence to support the effectiveness of such programmes. While we recognise that a Christian programme might not be the right treatment for everyone it has proven to be helpful to many. If we are truly seeking to be person-centred a faith based, or explicitly Christian based approach should be offered alongside other options and receive equal access to funding.

Rev. Stephen Allison, co-ordinator of the group said, “We are all aware of the scale of Scotland’s drug problem and that behind the statistics lie many heart-breaking personal experiences. All in society need to come together to respond to these issues. The proposed Right to Addiction Recovery Bill is a good first step but we must all continue to pray for and take action to help all those who are caught up in the drugs epidemic.”

Download the Free Church of Scotland’s Response.