In recognition of the impact on those left behind when someone they love dies because of alcohol and drugs, MSPs used a debate on See Beyond – See the Lives – Scotland in the Scottish Parliament this week to call for more compassion and support.

Led by Miles Briggs MSP and supported by Monica Lennon MSP, who both lost their Dads to alcohol, MSPs of all parties shared their experiences of alcohol and drug problems – and deaths – amongst people in their lives and in the areas they represent as MSPs.

 

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Jamie Greene MSP spoke of how difficult it is to see the person in the grip of an addiction when their behaviour impacts those around them. He spoke of his Dad’s death from an alcohol problem and how proud he is of his Mum for successfully being in recovery  from her alcohol problem and the joy he felt as she slowly became more herself as her emotions, intellect, humour, and interests returned. Jamie urged people to support the campaign and stressed that “no one is beyond help”.

Finlay Carson MSP talked about the death of a friend, which he suspects was due to his alcohol problem, and the shame his friend’s family clearly feel as they did not publish a death notice or even hold a funeral, emphasising that “behind every death there is a family, friends and a community who is experiencing a devastating loss.”

MSPs thanked participants of See Beyond – See the Lives – Scotland for recording videos of their letters to the family members and friends they had lost to alcohol and drugs, and Beatrice Wishart MSP summed up the feeling in the chamber by saying “addiction is a health issue, and people should be treated with care and support, not judgement”.

In conclusion, Minister for Public Health and Women’s Health, Jenni Minto MSP, highlighted the “honesty, grief, love, and hope” that was apparent in the See Beyond – See the Lives – Scotland stories, and committed the Scottish Government to supporting the organisations behind the campaign to take it to communities and spread the message of compassion further.

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Learn more about the campaign and hear the stories: Home | Seebeyondscotland