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Live Reporting

By Craig Hutchison and Colin Bell

All times stated are UK

  1. That's your lot for today, but if you have not had enough politics yet...........

    Video content

    Video caption: Theresa May calls for a general election

    Video content

    Video caption: Nicola Sturgeon says June election is Scotland's 'time to be heard'

    Video content

    Video caption: Jeremy Corbyn 'welcomes' snap election announcement

    That's all from Holyrood Live on 18 April 2017, the day Theresa May caught most of us on the hop by calling a general election.

    We're back tomorrow morning with the Rural Economy Committee and here's hoping we have another quiet, uneventful day.

  2. Government remains committed to minimum unit pricing

    Aileen Campbell

    SNP MSP Christine Grahame intervenes to invite the minister to visit Addaction to meet the team.

    Ms Campbell accepts says she would like to visit Addaction in Galashiels. 

    The public health minister says the government remains committed to minimum unit pricing. 

    She says there is a place for the criminal justice system but the opportunity to direct people away from this at the earliest opportunity is welcomed.

    Ms Campbell congratulates Addaction for their work in saving lives and says addiction should continue to be looked at in terms of health. 

  3. Background: Government funding for Addaction

    Addaction - Scotland’s biggest drug/alcohol treatment and recovery charity – has been awarded £47,500 by the Scottish government.

    The new funding boost, for the charity’s frontline work with individuals and families across Scotland, is from the Scottish government’s grants scheme for voluntary organisations in social and community care.

    Director of Addaction Scotland Andrew Horne welcomed the funding, saying: “Addaction Scotland is delighted to receive this award, as we’re eager to improve access to services…and this will really help us do that.

  4. Minister welcomes Addaction staff to the gallery

    Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell
    Image caption: Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell

    Public Health Minister Aileen Campbell says she visited the Addaction exhibition and welcomes staff to the parliament.

    Ms Campbell says Rod Anderson, Christine Grahame's Local Hero, who works for the charity, sounds like a very special person.

    She cites the Scottish government's drugs strategy: The Road To Recovery.

  5. Addaction Scotland expertise

    Addaction Scotland says: Our expertise is wide and insightful:

    • Pregnancy and early years issues
    • Community alcohol support
    • Community recovery rehabilitation
    • Working with older people
    • Mutual aid partnerships
    Addaction Scotland
    Image caption: Addaction Scotland
    • Blood borne virus, Hepatitis C and HIV support through testing and treatment
    • Overdose prevention work including Take Home Nalaoxone training and supply
    • Harm reduction services including safe injecting equipment provision
    • Sexual health advice, pregnancy testing and free condom distribution
    • Education, employment and welfare issues
  6. Background: New mental health strategy unveiled by Scottish government

    The Scottish government has unveiled its new strategy on mental health, committing to spend more than £300m to tackle it in the next five years.

    Mental Health Minister Maureen Watt said her ambition was for mental and physical illnesses to achieve "parity of esteem" in the way they are treated.

    Ms Watt told MSPs she would work hard to tackle poverty as the "biggest driver" of poor mental health.

    There will be a focus on prevention and early intervention
    Image caption: There will be a focus on prevention and early intervention

    There are 40 actions in the Scottish government's new strategy.

    They include:

    • Increasing mental health workforce in A&E, GP practices, police stations and prisons
    • Reviewing counselling and guidance services in schools
    • Reforming adults with incapacity legislation so it complies with best international standards
    • Establishing a bi-annual forum of mental health experts to help guide the implementation

    Read more here.

  7. Addaction Scotland

    The Addaction website says: 

    "As the largest provider of drug and alcohol support services in Scotland we are never far away from those who need us — people with addiction issues, their families, friends and communities. We're here for anyone who wants our help.

    "Our first Scottish service started in 2004 and we now have distinct services across the country, from Dundee to Stranraer. While each one has its own distinct identity, we take a very Scottish approach to dealing with the problems faced by our communities. Much of our pioneering work and success has led the way for our services south of the border."

  8. Labour MSP says results Addaction achieves are impressive

    Labour MSP Colin Smyth
    Image caption: Labour MSP Colin Smyth

    Labour MSP Colin Smyth also praises the work of Addaction.

    Mr Smyth says he recently visited the Addaction office in Dumfries but most of the staff were out in the communities providing personalised support to those battling with drugs and alcohol issues.

    He says the results they achieve are impressive.

    Mr Smyth goes on to say the decision by the Scottish government to reduce direct funding for drug and alcohol treatment support centres was disappointing.

  9. There needs to be a focused approach to tackle drug and alcohol addiction - Tory MSP

    Tory MSP Rachael Hamilton
    Image caption: Tory MSP Rachael Hamilton

    Tory MSP Rachael Hamilton says drug and alcohol misuse is not going away anytime soon and it highlights the need for charities such as Addaction.

    Ms Hamilton says half of all support for Scotland's health boards to tackle drug and alcohol addiction has been cut.

    She says that this is a contradiction. 

    The Tory MSP says there needs to be a focused approach to tackle drug and alcohol addiction. 

  10. Background: Drugs deaths in Scotland hit a record high

    drug abuse

    Drugs deaths in Scotland hit a record high in 2015, official statistics revealed.

    A total of 706 people died as a result of drug abuse last year - the largest number ever recorded, according to a report by the National Records of Scotland.

    It represents a 15% increase on the figure for 2014, when 613 people died.

    The number of drug deaths in Scotland have been steadily increasing since 1995, when 426 deaths were recorded.

    The report also reveals the effect of drug abuse on older users - almost three-quarters (73%) of deaths were among people aged over 35.

    Read more here.

  11. Addaction Scotland

    Addaction Scotland has eveloped its expertise and innovation across a wide range of services, including; pregnancy and early years work, community alcohol support, community recovery rehab, working with older people, mutual aid partnerships, blood borne virus (support through testing and treatment), harm reduction and education and employment.

    Addaction Scotland

    Its says its approach is quite simple:

    • To us you are an individual with values, strengths, anxieties and questions
    • Your needs are at the heart of how our support is provided
    • We will work with you in honest, day-to day partnerships
    • We believe that your recovery is possible and very probable
  12. Addaction getting on with the day job says SNP MSP

    Ms Grahame says we should remember in the everyday world, charities such as Addaction just get on with the day job to help and support those who need it. 

  13. Local Hero

    ADDACTION
    Image caption: Christine Grahame praises her Local Hero Rod Anderson

    Last summer, Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale MSP Christine Grahame announced her local hero was Rod Anderson, a project worker at Addaction in Galashiels

    Ms Grahame uses the debate to read out warm testimony from someone who Mr Anderson helped.

    According to the Addaction website Rod "performs miracles every day and has set up a recovery community in the Borders"

    " After overcoming his own battle with alcohol, using the support of Addaction, Rod decided to dedicate himself to saving lives and became a substance misuse worker. 

    "The nomination added that he is a selfless, unassuming man who helps people get their lives back together."

  14. Addaction has 23 sites in Scotland

    SNP MSP Christine Grahame

    SNP MSP Christine Grahame welcomes representatives from Addaction to the public gallery.

    Ms Grahame says Addaction is a leading UK drug, alcohol and mental health charity with 23 sites in Scotland.

    The SNP MSP says Addaction raise awareness that drug and alcohol addictions are health and well being issues not criminal issues. 

    Ms Grahame highlights those who have found employment with Addaction after being helped by the organisations with their own addictions. 

  15. Praise for the staff and volunteers of Addaction

    Ms Grahame uses her motion to praise the dedication and work that the staff and volunteers off  the drug, alcohol and mental health charity, Addaction undertake.

    The Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale MSP  says Addaction has 23 regional sites in Scotland, including Galashiels, and is the largest organisation of its kind.

    Drug abuser
    Image caption: Addaction supports people with substance misuse problems

    She says its ethos is that the wellbeing, health and happiness of people, families and communities is paramount.

    The SNP MSP says Addaction asserts that people with substance misuse problems should be supported through health and social care agencies and diverted away from the criminal justice system

    Addaction will host an exhibition in the Parliament from 21 to 23 February 2017.  

  16. Here's the motion for the Addaction debate

    Motion for the Addaction debate
  17. Member's debate: Addaction charity

    SNP MSP Christine Grahame will now lead a member's debate celebrating the drug, alcohol and mental health charity Addaction.

  18. The Health and Sport Committee motion is unanimously agreed to

    The Health and Sport Committee motion is unanimously agreed to.

    Motion