Glasgow councillor talks about parents’ battle with substance abuse

Cllr Thomas Kerr is calling for improved drug rehabilitation schemes.Cllr Thomas Kerr is calling for improved drug rehabilitation schemes.
Cllr Thomas Kerr is calling for improved drug rehabilitation schemes.
A Glasgow councillor has spoken out about his parents battle with substance abuse, as he pushed the city council to support calls for improved drug rehabilitation schemes.

Conservative councillor Thomas Kerr says that despite his childhood being really tough, his whole perspective on life changed when he decided he wouldn’t “fall into the same trap” as his parents and help other young people in the same situation.

Councillor Kerr sadly lost his dad to drugs in 2016, but his mum is in recovery and volunteers at recovery networks across the city.

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Last week Glasgow City Council agreed to an amended motion to respond to a consultation published by MP Douglas Ross that asks for a Bill to put into law that everyone should have the right to rehab if they want to seek it.

The council will now look at and take part in the consultation by mid January next year.

Since last Thursday’s full council, councillor Kerr has spoken about his childhood and the difficulties he faced growing up.

He said: “It was tough, really tough but I was lucky I had amazing grandparents who took me in at the worst times and sheltered me from seeing the very worst of things. Something not every kid has.

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“It changed my whole perspective on life, from growing up like that I decided I wouldn’t fall into the same trap. I was determined to better myself and speak out for other young people who sadly grow up like me. That’s why I decided to go into politics – if you want to change something you need to lead.

“My mum is no longer on drugs and in recovery, she now works volunteering in rehabs and the recovery networks all over Glasgow to try to get other people off drugs.”

If approved, the Bill would look to prevent individuals seeking drug and alcohol treatment services from being refused access for reasons including: a medical history of substance misuse; a criminal history involving substance misuse; automatically on the outcome of a mental health assessment; the person is currently still undertaking alcohol and/or drug misuse.

Councillor Kerr added: “I’m delighted to have secured cross party support for my motion. While there is plenty that divides councillors in this city, we all share a determination to see change when it comes to Scotland’s drugs death shame.

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“Having lost a family member to drug addiction, and with my mum in recovery herself, that change is personal for me. I am firmly of the belief that establishing a legal right to addiction treatment is a vital first step towards addressing the crisis we face and I look forward to Glasgow City Council responding constructively to Douglas Ross’ consultation proposals in advance of the Right to Recovery Bill progressing through the Scottish Parliament.”

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