Strathclyde Law Professor to chair national drugs collaborative

Aerial view of University of Strathclyde campus

A Professor of Practice at Strathclyde Law School is to chair a National Collaborative established to inform Scotland’s National Mission on Drug Deaths.

Professor Alan Miller, an expert in human rights law, will head the Collaborative, which has been formed to ensure that the experience and rights of people affected by drugs are reflected in all aspects of the mission.

The Collaborative will make recommendations to the Scottish Government on changes to services which could improve and save lives. This will see the rights of people affected by substance use being recognised in all relevant law, policy and practice and embedded in the pending new human rights framework for Scotland.

Profesor Alan Miller

Professor Miller brings to the role four decades of experience as a human rights practitioner, including being unanimously elected by the Scottish Parliament to an eight-year term as inaugural Chair of the Scottish Human Rights Commission and then serving three years as a UN Special Envoy.

Professor Miller said: “I am very pleased to take up the position of Chair of the National Collaborative to help improve and save lives in what is a public health emergency.

“Over the next few weeks, I look forward to meeting with people with lived and living experience and with representatives from third sector and public sector partners.

“I am committed to bring together and amplify the voices of experience in a way which will empower people affected by drugs. This will help improve treatment and recovery services as a matter of urgency whilst also importantly help us all tackle the underlying causes of problematic drug use through anchoring in Scotland’s pending new human rights framework the rights of those affected by drugs.”

Minister for Drugs Policy Angela Constance said: “I am pleased Professor Alan Miller has agreed to chair the National Collaborative.

“Successful delivery of the national mission requires a better way of listening to, and acting on, the voices of those with lived and living experience. The people we need to be able to reach and support are some of our most marginalised and excluded citizens and ministers have been clear that it is for those people that the national mission aims to make rights a reality.

“Delivering on such an important strand of the national mission requires someone with a successful track record on delivering change on behalf of these groups of people and Professor Miller has been a leading voice in human rights through his work as Independent Co-Chair of the National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership and now on the Human Rights Bill Advisory Board.

“I look forward to working with Professor Miller and everybody involved in the collaborative as we focus on the actions required to tackle this public health emergency and ultimately, save lives.”

Professor Miller was appointed by the First Minister as Independent Co-Chair of the National Taskforce for Human Rights Leadership between 2019 and 2021 and is now advising on the Human Rights Bill. He currently serves as an Independent Expert with the UN’s Crisis Bureau and previously ran a community legal aid practice in a Glasgow housing estate for 15 years.