Talking about drugs and alcohol

East Ayrshire’s Alcohol and Drugs Partnership held its annual conference this week at the Park Hotel in Kilmarnock.

The conference was open to anyone with a particular interest in the area, and specifically anyone who has been, or still is, in touch with treatment and support services. People who work in the field of alcohol and drugs also came along on the day.

Guest speakers included footballer and author Andy McLaren who spoke about his battles with alcohol and drug addiction. While playing for Reading in 2000, Andy failed a random drugs test and was immediately banned from football. After admitting that he was an alcoholic and a cocaine abuser, he checked in to the Priory Clinic in Glasgow and worked hard to overcome his addictions. He then went on to successfully resurrect his career with Kilmarnock later the same year and gained a national cap when Scotland played Poland in 2001.

Other speakers on the day were Dr Iain McPhee from UWS, who has worked in the field of drug addiction for 27 years; Justina Murray, CEO of Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs, and Niven Rennie, Director of the Scottish Violence Reduction Unit.