National Mission on Drugs: annual report 2021 to 2022

Sets out the progress made between January 2021 and 31 March 2022 by national government, local government and third sector partners towards reducing drug deaths and improving the lives of those impacted by drugs in Scotland.

7. Outcome 6: Children, families and communities affected by substance use are supported

7.1 Overview

Families require dedicated support due to empower them and allow them to support the recovery of their loved one. They also need access to services to enable their own recovery. We know that many people started their drug and alcohol use at an early age and that many had adverse childhood experiences.[58] Parental drug use can have a traumatic impact on children and there is a risk that drug use becomes intergenerational, ensuring we get it right for every child requires robust interventions.

7.2 Progress in 2021-22

Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs (SFAD) provides support to those who are concerned about someone else's alcohol or drug use. This includes providing information, listening and connecting people to local support in Scotland. In 2021/22, SFAD received additional funding of £125,000 to continue the naloxone click and collect service and National Development Funding of £75,000 was provided for the project 'Families as a Movement for Change'.

A summary of evidence collated as part of the Ask the Family engagement project run by SFAD was published in March 2021. This work was commissioned by the national Whole Family Approach/Family Inclusive Practice Working Group.[59]

7.2.1 Whole Family Approach Framework

In December 2021 our framework for holistic family approaches and family inclusive practice was published, which sets out principles of how we can improve support for families affected by drug and alcohol use by taking a whole family approach.

We are supporting this framework with investment totalling £6.5 million per year over the life of the parliament. ADPs have been provided with an additional £3.5 million per year to implement the framework locally, and vital front-line and third sector organisations who support children and families are also being supported through our Children and Families Fund. This provides £3 million grant funding via the Corra Foundation each year.

The Whole Family Approach Implementation Working Group first met in February 2022. This is made up of a range of experts on family inclusive practice, including representatives from ADPs and the third sector who will promote and support the implementation of the framework.

The Whole Family Approach Implementation Working Group agreed an action plan for supporting the implementation of the framework across Scotland. This plan sets out three phases of work: baselining to understand how family support currently works at a local level, identifying gaps and opportunities and supporting partnerships to improve the support they provide.

The government has also launched the Whole Family Wellbeing Fund as part of our commitment to shifting spend to ensure families are helped to overcome challenges before they reach crisis point. Spending for this fund in 2022/23 will be £50 million and £32 million of this will go to Children's Services Planning Partnerships (CSPPs).

We will encourage CSPPs and ADPs to view this funding, along with the £3.5 million already committed to ADPs, to implement the Whole Family Framework as part of a wider programme of investment in family support.

7.3 Measuring Progress

Use of drugs can have harmful and wide-reaching consequences for an individual's family, friends and community. Limited data currently exist to directly measure progress towards Outcome 6 (children, families and communities affected by substance use are supported). Here we draw on a range of available data to provide a degree of insight into the level of harms substance use has on individuals, their family and friends, and communities.

7.3.1 Measuring progress: perceptions of drug use

In 2019/20, the Scottish Crime and Justice Survey found that 45% of adults perceived drug dealing/drug abuse to be the most common issue in their local area, consistent with findings in previous years.[60] The Scottish Household Survey found that 15% of respondents considered drug misuse or drug dealing to be very or fairly common in their neighbourhood.[61]

7.3.2 Measuring progress: parenthood and children

In 2020/21, drug use was recorded in 1.7% (766) of 45,466 maternities in Scotland. This was equivalent to a rate of 16.8 maternities with drug use per 1,000 maternities, slightly higher than in 2019/20. A total of 141 (0.3%) of 45,939 babies born in Scotland were recorded as having been affected by, or having withdrawal symptoms from, maternal use of drugs of addiction. In 2020/21, the rate of babies affected by maternal use of drugs was 3.1 per 1,000 live births. This rate decreased steadily over time from 6.9 per 1,000 live births in 2011/12, but has increased slightly from 2019/20 (2.8 per 1,000 live births).[62]

In 2018, 35% (342) of people who had a drug misuse death were reported to be a parent or parental figure to one or more children aged under 16. 5% of people (61) were reported to be living in the same household as the child at the time of their death. In 2018, 566 children lost a parent or parental figure as a result of a drug misuse death. Of these 566 children, 18% (100) were reported to be living in the same household as the deceased parent at the time of death.[63]

In 2019, just over seven in ten adults (71%) reported having experienced at least one Adverse Childhood Experience. One in twenty adults (5%) reported experience of household drug abuse.[64]

In 2021, parental substance use was identified as a concern at the case conferences of 932 (15%) of children who were on the Child Protection Register.[65]



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