CEO Blog

A piece by Scottish Recovery Consortium CEO, Jardine Simpson

Here, Jardine outlines how the Scottish Recovery Consortium is tackling the public health emergency .

This time last year, we led a campaign calling on the Scottish Government to declare a public health emergency around drug, alcohol and suicide deaths in Scotland. Those who took part in our RWS campaign event Let Us Not Forget, in Glasgow, were calling for all of us to take a more caring and compassionate approach to how we support our most vulnerable.

This year are delivering three national Rights in Recovery events to support the sector to adopt a rights-based approach to substance use, as well as many local events. Why? Because people in recovery understand that addiction does not have to be a life sentence. They understand that people who leave substance dependency become contributing members of society, working to make that society a more compassionate and healthy place for all its citizens.

The Scottish Recovery Consortium (SRC) will develop and support a national Lived Experience Representative Network (LERN) across Scotland. LERN members will contribute to the evaluation of service provision and recovery support from national agencies and local service providers. Their members will be trained and supported by SRC to ensure the spirit and detail of the Scottish Government’s Rights, Respect and Recovery programme are delivered. Our courses explain substance use and recovery in terms of a human rights-based approach and equip people with lived experience to operate the organisations and systems making decisions which shape how people are supported.Volunteers can formally register with SRC to undertake the Recovery Development Award. This qualification will be evidence of competence and knowledge of recovery community development. We are working to make the qualification a national benchmark for recovery development staff and to ensure the compassion and empathy of lived experience is connected to professional knowledge.

SRC was created a decade ago to promote the concept of recovery from substance dependency and make recovery more accessible. We believe the Rights, Respect and Recovery Strategy offers people with lived experience the opportunity to help address the harms of substance use. They are contributing by way of mutual aid organisations and visible recovery communities and by working alongside staff to enhance how services engage with people. The National Recovery Advocacy Network will train and support 20 people with lived experience to act as recovery advocacy workers. They will take a rights-based approach to ensure those they work with get the treatment they are entitled to.

As we come to terms with 1187 lives lost to drugs deaths and 1136 alcohol-specific deaths, the SRC asks the Scottish public to work with us and the other individuals, organisations and groups committed to making Scotland’s response to the most vulnerable in our society more effective. Every single one of these deaths is preventable and each leaves a gaping in hole in families and communities. Every single person in Scotland can play a part, no matter what your role in society is. Let’s strive to do things differently, to innovate, to be supportive of the rights of individuals to opportunities of health and social support.

Let’s collaborate, communicate and learn from one another and the people we work with to improve our collective response.