Future Forum goes online with alcohol and drugs latest developments


Scotland’s Futures Forum has taken its ‘Fresh Perspectives on Alcohol and Drugs’ online with a dedicated website facility that will allow the 250 leading experts already involved in the project shape the debate as the forum’s year-long inquiry develops.

Following yesterday’s publication of a major report by the Royal Society of Arts Commission on Illegal Drugs, Communities and Public Policy, the Futures Forum website asks today what are the implications for the debate in Scotland.

Frank Pignatelli, Chair of the Alcohol and Drugs Project Board, Scotland’s Futures Forum said:

“There is a need for an open, honest debate in Scotland on the way forward for tackling the issues associated with alcohol and drugs.

“The Futures Forum already has around 250 leading experts from academia, the health service, our police forces and public agencies on board with the project and the number is growing. By taking our inquiry online each has the opportunity to share their knowledge and understanding in a public space.

“Already, we see online in our forum reaction to the radical suggestions made yesterday by the RSA, and over the coming months our project partners will continue to debate and shape the way forward for tackling alcohol and drugs issues in Scotland.”

Members of the public are also able to log on to the Futures Forum website and have their say on Fresh Perspectives on Alcohol and Drugs.

Following the launch of the inquiry in January 2007, the Forum’s website also acts as an electronic library resource where participants in the project can place their research findings over the course of the year.

Other project material, such as the issues identified during the workshop launch sessions at Holyrood on 15 January are available online along with video archives of the chamber sessions from the day.

Professor Pignatelli added:

“Taking the project online means that we are in position to say to everyone with a view on the alcohol and drugs debate, ‘we want to hear from you, we want to listen to your views, we want to share your ideas, we want you to help shape public policy in Scotland.’”

Scotland’s Futures Forum website and the latest on ‘Fresh Perspectives on Alcohol and Drugs’ can be found at: www.scotlandfutureforum.org

Topics raised for debate on the website following the RSA’s report yesterday include:

  • issues surrounding the “demonisation” and morality of drugs,
  • is it too early to conclude that certain government policies on drugs have “largely been a failure”? – could the same be said about other key political issues such as tackling poverty, homelessness, crime and racism,
  • is it correct to say that “just say no” “has manifestly not worked”?
  • what is the dividing line between arresting and jailing people who commit ‘drug-related crimes’ as opposed to pursuing a health-based approach?
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