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The Right to Recovery

The core of the Right to Recovery Bill is to legally ensure that every individual can seek and receive comprehensive treatment for addiction.

Thursday, May 16, 2024
6 mins

The Right to Recovery Bill: A Beacon of Hope for Comprehensive Addiction Treatment in Scotland

by Annemarie Ward

Today marks a critical turning point in our long battle for genuine reform in addiction recovery services. After five relentless years of advocacy, the Right to Recovery Bill will finally confront Parliament.

This milestone belongs not just to us, the campaigners, but to every individual longing for a system that fosters real support and access to recovery for themselves and their loved ones.

For far too long, our urgent calls for change have been met with nothing but complacency, contempt, and outright disregard by those elected to protect & serve us. Politicians have irresponsibly funnelled vast sums into an antiquated treatment system, doggedly adhering to failed methods while foolishly expecting different results. This isn't merely a mismanagement of resources; it's a profound betrayal of human potential.

Amidst this egregious neglect, many political leaders have chosen to engage in shallow virtue signalling and identity politics. While these efforts may placate some politically vocal groups, they completely overlook the dire, life-or-death realities faced by those battling addiction in our poorest communities. These communities are often the least organised and the least engaged in political discourse, and their voices are seldom heard in the halls of power. It is a moral imperative for our politicians to advocate on their behalf. We need leaders who are truly committed to virtuous policies that prioritise human lives above all, especially for those who, despite their suffering, are less likely to vote. Leaders must rise above the fray of politics as usual to protect the most vulnerable—it's not only a responsibility; it's a test of their moral compass.

We need leaders committed to virtuous policies that prioritise human lives, not just those who seek to maintain an image of moral superiority.

The Right to Recovery Bill stands as a beacon of hope. It demands not just minor tweaks but a comprehensive overhaul of the system—a move away from mere financial Band-Aids towards a framework that champions accessible, diverse, and person-centred treatment options. Options that can give people choices and access to services that can help give them freedom from dependency.

Today, we find ourselves on the brink of change—a long overdue, desperately needed shift.

Now is the time to transform our words into decisive action. We must hold our leaders firmly accountable and ensure this bill does more than just  pass—it must ignite a revolution in addiction recovery.

Let's send a clear message to our politicians: they owe their allegiance to the people of Scotland and It's well past time that they start acting like it.

They have to understand that Scotland is on the cusp of significant legislative reform with the Right to Recovery Bill, which promises to fundamentally reshape addiction recovery services across the nation.

This bill seeks to solidify the rights of individuals seeking treatment, ensuring they have access to all appropriate treatment options that the country can offer.

What Does the Right to Recovery Bill Propose?

The core of the Right to Recovery Bill is to legally ensure that every individual can seek and receive comprehensive treatment for addiction. Here’s what this entails:

Treatment Access and Choice: The bill stipulates that any person seeking treatment for addiction and/or substance misuse should be able to quickly access their preferred treatment option unless deemed harmful by a medical professional.

Rights to Comprehensive Care: Should an individual’s care plan be unreasonably breached or a treatment option be refused, they will have the right to a written explanation and may seek legal recourse to challenge these decisions.

Legal Groundwork and Obligations: The bill addresses the uneven distribution of treatment options across Scotland and advocates for a more uniform approach, mirroring the protective measures seen in children’s rights legislation.

Implementation and Accountability: It proposes enhancements to existing laws to guarantee everyone the right to a holistic care plan, aligned with the best practices and guidelines available in the UK.

Why Is This Legislation Necessary?

Currently, there is a stark disparity in treatment access and the quality of services across Scotland, often referred to as a “postcode lottery.” The Right to Recovery Bill aims to eliminate this disparity by providing every individual with the statutory right to access a comprehensive range of addiction and recovery treatment services. These include:

Short and long-term residential rehabilitation

Community-based rehabilitation

Detoxification services, both residential and community-based

Stabilisation and substitute prescribing services

Additional support including aftercare and psychosocial support

How Does It Compare to Other Legislation?

While Scottish children benefit from broad and proactive protections under the UNCRC rights of the child bill, individuals facing addiction challenges have not been afforded the same robust legal backing. The proposed Right to Recovery Bill aims to elevate the level of protection and support for individuals seeking recovery from addiction to that of the proactive measures taken to protect children’s rights.

What’s Next?

The introduction of this bill is not merely about changing laws but transforming lives. It ensures that recovery from addiction is treated with the urgency and respect it deserves, with a system that supports not just the individual but also their families.

As we await further developments, it is crucial for community members, stakeholders, and lawmakers to come together to support this vital legislation. Engaging with MSPs, understanding the bill’s provisions, and advocating for its passage are essential steps in ensuring that everyone who struggles with addiction has the right to recovery and a chance at a new beginning.

How Can You Support?

If you’re eager to support this cause but unsure where to start, here’s how you can make a real impact:

Engage with Your MSP: Visit our online platform, enter your postcode to find your MSP on WriteToThem, and ask them to support the Right to Recovery Bill. You can use the information from our site to help compose your message.

Spread the Word: Share your support on social media using our handle @FAVORUK and hashtag #OorBill. Every post raises more awareness and builds the momentum we need.

For more detailed discussions or updates on the bill, I encourage reaching out to your local MSP or following upcoming parliamentary sessions. Together, we can make a substantial difference in the lives of many across Scotland.

Learn More and Get Involved

For those looking for more information or wishing to get further involved, here are some useful links:

Back the Bill

The Right to Recovery Bill Explained

The Right to Recovery Tory Bill & Other Myths

Mythbusting PDF

This isn't just about supporting a bill; it's about championing a movement towards fairness, comprehensive care, and empowerment for all individuals seeking help for addiction in Scotland. Don’t hesitate—your voice is crucial in this fight for equity and recovery!

(5) Annemarie Ward 💜 on X: "On way to the Scottish Parliament for the launch of #OorBill - the right to recovery bill. Unlike other charities we don’t have PR people or social media staff so if you see anything about it - please share and if you can tag me or @FAVORUK https://t.co/3npg8e1ybH" / X (twitter.com)

(6) Annemarie Ward 💜 on X: "The right to recovery bill #Scotland #righttorecovery 🥰#OorBill https://t.co/1Ibtp8sRL3" / X (twitter.com)

(6) Jamie Gillies on X: "As a ‘right to recovery’ Bill is launched at the Scottish Parliament, here’s a piece I wrote last year on Scotland’s drug deaths crisis. Featuring some thoughts from the inimitable @Annemarieward of @FAVORUK https://t.co/rrOU0KLngj" / X (twitter.com)

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