Drugs and alcohol policy Minister: resignation letters

Letters between Elena Whitham, Minister for Drugs and Alcohol Policy, and the First Minister.

Letter from Minister for Drugs and Alcohol Policy Elena Whitham to First Minister Humza Yousaf - 6 February 2024

Over the last year I experienced a series of events leading to post traumatic stress which has impacted my wellbeing greatly and for which I am receiving treatment. I have sought to undertake my role in your government diligently and with the passion and focus that it requires. Sadly, after much soul searching, it is apparent to me that I must regrettably resign from my ministerial role so that I am able to look after my wellbeing and ensure my constituents of Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley continue to be represented assiduously.

It has been the greatest honour to be first the Minister for Community Safety and latterly the Minister for Drug and Alcohol Policy. Both of these roles are areas I am passionate about having been a Women’s Aid worker and someone who supported people dealing with multiple and complex needs including problematic substance use. I have been privileged to meet folk up and down the country who are working collectively to address the great harm Scotland is experiencing due to alcohol and other drugs…none more so than those with lived and living experience who have sought to speak truth to power. I am grateful to them and to all of the family members and organisations who took time to speak with me this last year.

I will continue to support the aims of the National Mission from the backbenches and in my constituency work. It is imperative that we strive with all of our might to continue our efforts to save and improve lives as we have lost far too many of our folk to wholly preventable deaths. Your government’s efforts to tackle poverty and inequality also play an integral role in the National Mission and the cross government plan set out last year continues to be vital to delivery.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the opportunity bestowed upon me, it truly has been an honour.

Letter from First Minister Humza Yousaf to Minister for Drugs and Alcohol Policy Elena Whitham - 6 February 2024

I write to thank you for your service as Minister for Drugs and Alcohol Policy over the past year. I am greatly saddened to hear that due to your personal ill-health you feel you cannot continue to give the role the focus that you would wish to.

I wanted you to be aware of how greatly I have valued your efforts to tackle alcohol and drug-related deaths - not least the work to take forward proposals for reviewing drug laws.

Similarly, I know the dedication that you brought to your previous role of Minister for Community Safety.

I believe our government has been enriched by your efforts and the experience that you have brought into public life.

I know that the people of Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley have in you a dedicated and conscientious public servant and I know you will continue to stand up for them to the very best of your ability.

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