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Politics: Help is on hand for those with addiction issues

By David Porter

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MSP Gillian Martin with Alcohol and Drugs Action Team Leader Alison Thomson and Chief Executive Fraser Hoggan
MSP Gillian Martin with Alcohol and Drugs Action Team Leader Alison Thomson and Chief Executive Fraser Hoggan

This week I visited Alcohol and Drugs Action (ADA) in Inverurie to hear about the vital work they do to help people in the community who may be suffering from alcohol or drug addiction to access the support and help they need.

The service supports those in need and the family and friends of those affected by both alcohol and drugs.

I was able to meet with ADA chief executive Fraser Hoggan and team leader Alison Thomson to discuss how their work is helping people and it is clear they have real passion about helping support people who really need it.

Earlier this month, Aberdeenshire Council released its Community Impact Survey Analysis looking at how the Covid-19 pandemic had impacted the north-east.

The findings were important.

When respondents were asked about alcohol consumption results from this year compared to 2020, it was found 20 per cent of people were drinking more than they had been the previous year.

Of those respondents who indicated they were consuming more alcohol, concerns were raised about their physical and mental health as well as their energy levels.

More than 20 per cent of those who said they were drinking more also said they were worried about their increase in consumption of alcohol.

The ADA provide a range of services including one-to-one support with a range of interventions and a community recovery service with group work, recovery coaching, community connections and recovery cafes.

We know that the past 20 months have had a huge impact on people’s lives both on their physical and mental health and finances too.

This can inevitably cause people to turn to other means to help cope with these changes.

It is important to know that help is available.

If you are worried about your own drug or alcohol consumption or about a friend or family member, please get in touch with the service for support. Sometimes just asking for help can be the first step but services like the ADA can and will help.

You can contact the ADA helpline on 0333 0344 8355.

Also, this week, blue letters have been sent out to 12 to 15-year-olds across the north-east and Scotland.

This is the next stage in offering young people the vaccine after drop-in centres were given the green light to vaccinate the age group last month. Children in this age-group will be offered a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

I understand there will be parents and carers who may have questions about allowing their children to get the vaccine.

Health Secretary Humza Yousaf has said a decision on whether a child should accept or refuse the vaccine should be made jointly with parents or carers.

It is important to ensure when researching the rules to use both reliable and trusted sources such as NHS Inform resources.

It has been demonstrated that Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective in this age group and the vaccination offers the best chance of protecting young people and preventing further disruption to education.

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