30 years ago

8th April 2005 at 01:00
Alcohol abuse by parents not only disrupted children's lives but showed that Scottish society was "breaking down", The TES Scotland reported ("Drink problem now urgent", April 11, 1975).

Most children in care in Inverness-shire were there because of family breakdown linked to alcohol, Miss Morag Faulds, the county's director of social work, told the first Scottish school on alcoholism held this week in Edinburgh. Ten per cent of the social workers' case-loads involved alcoholism . . .

Family problems associated with alcoholism had, she said, reached unacceptable proportions in Scotland and demanded the co-operative attention of many agencies. Children should be in contact with another adult - a sympathetic teacher, for example.

Children in families affected by problem drinking were deeply unhappy - subject to unconscious, if not wilful, neglect, facing constant disillusionment after spells of sobriety in which the father or mother briefly became kind and attentive, grossly insecure in their relationships . . .

There was need for research into the problems of the children of alcoholics and into the problem of women alcoholics . . .

Miss Faulds, a member of the Clayson Committee on Scottish licensing laws, said the law, and their parents, gave adolescents an unclear message on drinking. Attitudes in Scotland to the use of alcohol were strong and conflicting.

The lack of outside facilities available to families made it difficult to widen children's experience of patterns of drinking . . . The legislators must recognise the urgency of the problem.

Mr Allan Neill, director of the Edinburgh and District Council on Alcoholism, (said) alcohol was now the most important of the various drugs mankind had evolved as excuse substances to give time out from stress or ordinary self . . .

The form of drinking in Scotland was conducive to alcoholism - a feature usually noticeable in societies that were breaking down.

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