Renfrewshire Council

Alcohol and Drugs Commission

The Renfrewshire Community Planning Partnership is taking a fresh approach to the challenges posed by alcohol and drug use across Renfrewshire by setting up a dedicated independent Commission to explore new ways of tackling the issue, not only for individuals but also for the families affected.  

The Commission follows on from the approach in 2015, when the partnership's Tackling Poverty Commission, reported on a series of recommendations to tackle poverty and reduce the inequality gap and which are now embedded within the day to day work of the council.

We know the impact that alcohol and drug use have on individuals and families and while we know many who are affected and engage with the many services available, we also know that this is only the tip of the iceberg. There are many people who do not come in to contact with our services and we want to work with partners to focus on early intervention and prevention, which engages with people early and prevents drug and alcohol issues becoming deeply engrained in people's lives.

Focus on prevention and recovery

We know that if we want to make a difference we will have to do things differently. By working together, we can look at what more we can do to focus on prevention and recovery, putting the needs of the individual at the heart of our approach, rather than focusing on specific services.

The Commission - one of the first of its kind in Scotland - presents a real opportunity to work together to improve life chances for local people and communities in Renfrewshire.

As a partnership, we're ambitious for our communities and in the past few years have raised our profile, instilled a growing confidence and started to change perceptions of the place as well as tackle the inequality that has held local communities back. 

Key facts

  • There were 50 drug-related deaths in Renfrewshire, this was the largest number recorded in the past decade
  • The number of drug-related deaths in Scotland doubled between 2009 and 2018 to reach 1,187
  • Scotland currently has the highest number of drug-related deaths in western Europe 
  • The number of alcohol-related deaths in Renfrewshire in 2018 reached 50 

Themes covered in Commission meetings

  • Drug deaths in Renfrewshire
  • Recovery
  • Early intervention and prevention
  • Supporting those with the highest need / suffering most severe disadvantage
  • Identifying any gaps in evidence to inform an approach to improved support
  • Listening to those with lived experience

The Commission is expected to conclude in the new year 2020 and then report back with a series of findings and recommendations. 

Commission members

Cllr Jacqueline Cameron (Chair)
Phil Hanlon (independent facilitator)
Karen McCluskey (Chief Executive, Community Justice Scotland)
Dr Saket Priyadarshi (Associate Medial Director, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde)
Dr Carol Hunter (lead pharmacist, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde)
Linda de Caestecker (Director of Public Health, NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde) 
David Liddell OBE (Chief Executive, Scottish Drugs Forum)
Catriona Mathieson, University of Stirling and Drug Research Network Scotland
Alison Douglas (Chief Executive, Alcohol Focus Scotland)
Neil Hunter (Chief Executive, Scottish Children's Reporter Administration)
Jardine Simpson (Chief Executive, Scottish Recovery Consortium)
Justina Murray (Chief Executive, Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs)
John Goldie (Retired professional / independent consultant)
Andrew Horne (Director, Addaction Scotland)
Alan McNiven (Chief Executive, Engage Renfrewshire)
Jennifer Davidson (Executive Director CELCIS)
Fiona Stringfellow (Chief Executive, Blue Triangle)