Listening to those with Lived and Living Experience

Ensuring the experiences of people affected by drugs are acted upon.

A new National Collaborative to ensure the views of people with Lived and Living Experience (LLE) are reflected in all aspects of the national mission on drug deaths will be chaired by human rights law expert Professor Alan Miller.

The collaborative will bring together people who have been affected by drugs to make recommendations to the Scottish Government about changes to services which could improve and save lives.

This will see the rights of people affected by substance use being recognised in all relevant policy and practice in accordance with the new human rights framework for Scotland.

Regular forums involving people with lived experience and representatives from third sector and public sector partners will be led by the Chair and supported by a secretariat from within the Scottish Government Drugs Policy Division.

Minister for Drugs Policy Angela Constance said:

“I am pleased Professor Alan Miller has agreed to chair the National Collaborative.

“Successful delivery of the national mission requires a better way of listening to, and acting on, the voices of those with lived and living experience.

“The people we need to be able to reach and support are some of our most marginalised and excluded citizens and ministers have been clear that it is for those people that the national mission aims to make rights a reality.

“Delivering on such an important strand of the national mission requires someone with a successful track record on delivering change on behalf of these groups of people and Professor Miller has been a leading voice in human rights through his work as Independent Co-Chair of the National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership and now on the Human Rights Bill Advisory Board.

“I look forward to working with Professor Miller and everybody involved in the collaborative as we focus on the actions required to tackle this public health emergency and ultimately, save lives.”

Professor Miller said:

“I am very pleased to take up the position of Chair of the National Collaborative to help improve and save lives in what is a public health emergency.

“Over the next few weeks I look forward to meeting with people with lived and living experience and with representatives from third sector and public sector partners.

“I am committed to bring together and amplify the voices of experience in a way which will empower people affected by drugs. This will help improve treatment and recovery services as a matter of urgency whilst also importantly help us all tackle the underlying causes of problematic drug use through anchoring in Scotland’s pending new human rights framework the rights of those affected by drugs.”

Dave Kelly, Team Leader at the charity Change, Grow, Live, met the Minister and Professor Miller at the Blackburn Recovery Café, one of the community activities the service runs in West Lothian. He said:

“I am someone who has lived experience. I have accessed services in the past; I know how hard it can be. I now manage a service and will always try to make things easier for those seeking support.

“I know that each person has to find the treatment which works for them, and I believe that everyone who has been through this can offer valuable insight to something like the National Collaborative and help them provide recommendations for shaping services which respond better to the needs of the people asking for help.”


Professor Alan Miller is Professor of Practice in Human Rights Law at the Law School, University of Strathclyde and member of the university’s Centre for the Study of Human Rights Law. He was the inaugural Chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission between 2008 –16, having been unanimously elected and re-elected by the Parliament to serve two terms of office. He was a UN Special Envoy between 2016 -19 and he currently serves as an Independent Expert with its Crisis Bureau. Between 2019 and 2021 Professor Miller co-chaired the National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership and is now on an advisory board to support the development of the Human Rights Bill which will introduce a new human rights framework for Scotland. He ran a community legal aid practice for 15 years and is familiar with the harms caused by problematic drug use and providing help for marginalised groups.  

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