Over the last few months, the Evangelical Alliance and Serve Scotland have been conducting a nation-wide research project to highlight the work of churches and Christian organisations working to tackle addiction in Scotland. As evangelicals, we advocate with hope because we know that Jesus’ death on the cross brings restoration from addiction and despair. The research collated in our Stories of Hope: addiction recovery report aims to bring this hope to the public sphere by sharing good news stories with the Scottish government and public.

Our research highlights the extraordinary efforts that have been made by Christians in Scotland to assist and care for those in addiction, bringing to light the scope of Christian services across Scotland. With the Scottish government introducing new policy and funding initiatives to tackle the addiction crisis, we sought to promote Christians as an integral force in directing government policy through addiction response services.

We consulted members of the Evangelical Alliance to gather information that provided us with an overarching picture of drug addiction response within Scotland. We also collated statistical data from partners alongside an online survey sent to stakeholders identified as having key information correlated to our research. During our research, we noted that a high percentage of residential beds for addiction patients are offered by Christian groups, 121 out of 418 (Scottish Govt, February 2021). Within the past decade, over 2,300 individuals have been directly treated and successfully recovered from their addiction through services offered by Christian groups and churches across Scotland. The report details the policies, budgets and programmes offered by Christian communities and includes personal testimonies of men and women who overcame various addictions through Christ’s comfort and presence manifest in their lives.

"Extraordinary efforts that have been made by Christians in Scotland to assist and care for those in addiction, with over 2,300 individuals treated and recovered in the past decade."

On 7 June, Stories of Hope: addiction recovery was presented at an event at the Scottish parliament. The event was amazing. We had 120 attendees from churches, business, the Scottish Government (MSPs and Ministers) and Christian organisations. We heard from the government about their drugs strategy and the work of the drugs death task force and heard testimonies from those who had successfully completed rehabilitation programmes with Bethany Christian Trust. Former moderator of the Church of Scotland Martin Fair spoke of his work in setting up the Havilah programme for addiction recovery in Arbroath, and our head of advocacy in Scotland Kieran Turner gave a brief overview of the report with Scotland researcher Shanley McConnell and myself.

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The event was run by the Evangelical Alliance and five partner organisations in Serve Scotland (of which we are also a member). Each of them had a stand at the event and plenty of time was given over for guests (invited guests from the Scottish government and local MSPs) to visit the stands and talk to those involved. Around 25 per cent of the attendees had some form of lived experience of addiction and recovery.

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In presenting at Holyrood, we sought to highlight directly to the government the monumental effort Christians are making across Scotland to care for those with addiction, and that this cannot be ignored or diluted when considering future policy matters. We hope that the face-to-face event allowed our partner organisations to directly collaborate with each other as well as government officials, creating new and long-lasting relationship that will positively impact the addiction recovery landscape. Likewise, we hope that our members will be encouraged and inspired to seek out new opportunities to serve in areas of need, especially those who have not given much consideration to this before.

Many lives have been restored from addiction by the transformative power of Jesus Christ, and our ambition is that this report can be a valuable resource to inspire others to bring this glorious and restorative relationship to many others seeking help from addiction.

Do check out the report here: