Empowering people who have misused alcohol and drugs on their journey of recovery is at the heart of a new multi-agency plan for Moray.
Substance misuse can lead to a range of physical health, mental health and social problems - but people can and do recover.
The 10-year strategy seeks to make Moray a healthy, safer and more prosperous place for everyone to live by promoting education and prevention while ensuring the right support is in place for individuals and families who want to move forward with their lives.
Action to address the harm caused by alcohol and drug misuse and improve lives has been set out by the Moray Alcohol and Drug Partnership (MADP), which is welcoming comment on its plan to co-ordinate the work of statutory and third sector agencies.
It is estimated that 41% of individuals in Grampian drink above the daily or weekly recommended limit and 20% binge drink.
In Moray during 2013-14, there were 22 alcohol-related deaths and 388 hospital admissions. During the same period there were five drug-related deaths and 35 hospital admissions.
Thirty-seven per cent of youngsters under the age of 16 have been offered drugs and the levels of young people who drink regularly is higher than the national average.
Addiction can affect anyone at any time, said Jane Mackie, who chairs the alcohol and drug partnership.
She said: “It harms health, education, relationships and long-term life chances. It stops people getting a job or being able to do their job well and leads to poverty and homelessness.
“It increases the likelihood of a person’s involvement in crime as either a victim or offender. Communities are affected by alcohol and drug-related crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour.”
Funding spent on supporting individuals and families towards recovery reduces the cost burden on health, social care and the criminal justice system.
The draft strategy sets out how an expanded recovery service is already being put in place to deliver a wider range of high quality treatment, care and support interventions.
The new proposals builds on the successes of the previous plan which saw the establishment of a single point of access treatment service and Moray consistently meeting and exceeding the national target that no one should wait more than three weeks between referral and the start of treatment.
Copies of the strategy documents and response forms are available on the MADP and Moray Council websites. The consultation runs until August 31.
Continuing engagement and feedback from individuals, service users and communities will be an essential part of the delivery of the strategy.
Moray Council area stretches from Tomintoul in the south to the shores of the Moray Firth, from Keith in the east to Forres in the west. The council and its 4,500 employees respond to the needs of 92,500 residents in this beautiful part of Scotland, which nestles between Aberdeenshire and the Highlands.
Headquartered in Elgin, the administrative capital of Moray.