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Postcards from Scotland

Feedback from participants on the changes needed 'to melt the iceberg'

Structural changes (pricing, availability of alcohol, advertising)

  • Minimum pricing of alcohol
  • Reduce alcohol availability
  • Ban/restriction on alcohol advertising
  • Look again at legalisation of drugs in terms of harm or make alcohol illegal!
  • Legislation tighter on import and export
  • Introduce an alcohol tax
  • Make drinks companies take more responsibility

Cultural changes (attitude to drugs and alcohol)

  • Some social events with no alcohol involved – everyone joining in
  • Have alcohol and drug addiction acknowledged as crucial to Scotland’s future – politically, economically and socially
  • Make feeling even slightly drunk a cause for shame
  • Make something other than alcohol the “new cool” (also drugs and other addictors)
  • Raise awareness of subject in our local communities on an ongoing basis
  • Campaign on a local and national level
  • Clarify what we’re aiming for – No drinking; less drinking, getting out of the Top 10 of worst drinkers? What is the overall goal?
  • Radical change initiated by the community
  • Media pushing success cases and making success cases cool
  • Media not allowed to glamorise alcohol
  • Role models, celebrities or sports stars need to take on their responsibilities
  • Role models  speaking up for not drinking (individuals, cultures, celebrities)
  • Celebrity endorsement of positive non-use of alcohol. Learning from different cultures. It’s everyone’s job to make sure I’m not drinking too much.
  • Stop derogating language used for alcohol and drug users
  • Acceptable not to drink or to drink less. Everyone could do this. Impact on drink driving as example of success

Children, families and early years

  • Raise awareness amongst parents/carers as to their influence
  • Tackle personal drinking – parenting. Help them get to grips with own role modelling relationship to alcohol and drugs
  • Identification of vulnerability in families at the earliest possible stages and offer appropriate leads and support
  • Early interventions
  • Focus on the family unit
  • Stop penalising alcohol and drug misusers' parents – support!
  • Value children and seek their respect too
  • Teach children how to express emotions, especially anger
  • Teach parenting skills as part of school curriculum
  • Better choices/alternatives
  • Early years – supportive structures and education

Schools and also how we should educate youth on alcohol and drugs

  • Provide/create alternative places for young people that leaves the alcohol outside/keeps it away
  • Education doesn’t always work (unless your telling “all”)
  • Educate, individual aspiration, youth + positive social alternative
  • More male primary school teachers in “deprived” postcode areas to address the issue of whole class full of young boys having no positive role models (sober, in employment, capable of expressing emotions) in their youth

Wider financial, employment changes

  • In public bodies set maximum pay ratios
  • Clamp down on tax-dodging
  • Change our prevailing economic model
  • Compulsory work placements for those on benefits – gaining work skills and having a reason to get up in the morning is very important. Break family traditions of unemployment
  • Overhaul housing sector – homelessness and low motivation are undeniably linked

Wider cultural/social changes/campaigning

  • All of us must take individual responsibility for our own lives and habits
  • Have a long view – with goals but open to re-adjustment as we learn
  • Tackle media and popular programmes focussing on self-image. Create attractive alternatives.
  • Eliminate prejudicial treatment of native culture such as the Scots language. Children are made to feel inferior (see Language at Letham report)
  • Tackle the knock on effects of cultural/religious issues
  • Stop labelling people – whether it’s single parent, drug/alcohol misusers/ prostitutes
  • Become the best example we can be to our children, grandchildren, colleagues as regards all substances
  • Develop a greater tolerance and acceptance of faith groups, which promote and accept values and morals which promote family and community structures that protect from abuses of alcohol
  • Promote Christian values/morality as “cool” instead of obsolete thinking to create better society
  • Individual responsibility; Compassion; National responsibility in accepting that inequality and discrimination exists
  • Real socialism; spirituality and children first – Market second. Compassion, new economics, new measures of progress; political mass movement
  • Remove party politics from the issue – National emergency response to alcohol harm
  • Give the society and especially the young a future
  • Pool resources and pull together

What needs to happen at the individual level

  • Learn to love ourselves and each other
  • Better role models
  • Take alcohol more seriously. Everyone can do something about this. Promotion of individual acts to speak up and say “I don’t drink” or “Not another for me”.
  • Build confidence and self-esteem in “addicted” individuals. Help them to find a direction they want to move in
  • Remember recovery is contagious

What those involved in drugs and alcohol work need to do

  • Put the person back in the centre instead of assessment forms/data collection
  • Meanwhile start a broad coalition of people and orgs united to reduce alcohol harm
  • Learn from previously good strategies that have led to significant social/cultural change – No smoking; drink driving; social stigma
  • Develop recovery strategies and integrate communities into philosophy, working towards “radical and cultural” change
  • Holistic approach – tackle the issues that the person has – a person centred approach.
  • Recognise the emotional neglect of the person in a better integration of health care
  • Have a clear aim point (target if you must!!) for what we achieve through iceberg/circle of care
  • Local, regional and national recovery networks made up of people and families in long term recovery. These networks would influence their local service and system. These local networks would be a continued resource of hope and support in their communities. The recovery movement is part of a wider social justice movement.
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