Campaigners in Scotland are calling for more “professional optimism” to recognise that people with alcohol problems can recover, and to support them in that process.
In a new report, the Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) points out that the rate of alcohol-related deaths remains significantly higher than in England and Wales. It warns that the downward trend in deaths since the mid-2000s may now have levelled off.
“All people, at all levels in society, including though not limited to professionals, can play a powerful role in challenging stigma, showing care to help build hope, and demonstrating in daily actions the value of compassion and humanity,” the report says.
The report includes interviews with people drinking excessively, those in recovery, family members and professionals working in this area.
The authors say, "the report brings to light the shame and stigma families feel about dealing with this issue, the variability of service provision, and in some cases, the lack of compassion and understanding they face, both by society and professionals.”
SHAAP director, Eric Carlin, called for action to improve services and improved access to care, as well as intensified efforts to prevent alcohol misuse.
“The findings from this review underline the importance of continued support for policies to increase price, reduce availability and marketing in order to be effective in reducing overall population consumption and harms,” he said.
Public health minister, Joe FitzPatrick, has welcomed the report. “It is clear that we need to address Scotland’s drinking culture and tackle the clear inequalities in how alcohol affects our communities,” he said.
He added that the Scottish alcohol and drug strategies are currently being updated and will be published shortly.