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Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 May 2006, 10:36 GMT 11:36 UK
Drugs man calls for new approach
Tom Wood
Tom Wood: "What we need is clear thinking..."
An Edinburgh alcohol official has called for a candid new approach to tackle the country's growing drink and drugs problem.

Tom Wood, chairman of Action on Alcohol and Drugs in Edinburgh, said plain-speaking was necessary to get the message across to young people.

He made the comments as he was appointed chairman of the Scottish Association of Alcohol and Drug Action.

The former Lothian and Borders deputy chief constable will perform both jobs.

Latest statistics from 2003 show more than 50,000 people misused drugs over a 12-month period.

Mr Wood said: "I believe Scotland has reached a critical point in how it tackles its alcohol and drug issues.

"Change is desperately needed if we are ever to stem the rise in binge drinking and drug use prevalent throughout our society.

'Complex problem'

"Clearly many of our current strategies have had mixed success and what we need is clear thinking and the courage to introduce policies and solutions that will make a genuine difference to the very complex problem of substance abuse."

He added that he was "greatly honoured" to be appointed the new chairman of the Scottish association.

It is the result of a merger of the former Scottish Association of Alcohol Action Teams and Scottish Association of Drug Action Teams and represents more than 20 alcohol and drug action teams across Scotland.

The new body will bring together local action teams to "drive forward changes and improvements" for people with alcohol and drug problems.

It also advises on policy development locally and nationally.

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