QAAD: Quaker Action on Alcohol and Drugs

What is QAAD?

Quaker Action on Alcohol and Drugs (QAAD) is a recognised body of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) and a registered charity. We work in accordance with Quaker principles to address the widespread use and misuse of alcohol, prescribed and illegal drugs, and gambling.

What does QAAD do?

QAAD aims to meet the needs for support and information within the Religious Society of Friends in relation to alcohol, other drugs, and gambling. We do this by producing materials, offering advice to individual Friends when requested, and by attending and organising gatherings.  We seek to facilitate links between Friends who share our concern or who are personally affected by substance issues themselves or in their families.

QAAD supports young Friends by offering workshops, attending gatherings, and producing materials.

QAAD also works in the public arena, where we continue the tradition of expressing a Quaker perspective on policies and practices that would reduce substance and gambling problems.

We also seek to offer briefings and information  – for example, with a paper on the issues surrounding decriminalisation.  The paper can be viewed here QAAD briefing on decriminalisation

News: Response to the Government’s announcement on gambling reform

For some time, QAAD has been working closely with Ecumenical colleagues who share our concern about the damage and distress caused by gambling addiction.  Today (31 October), the group issued the following joint statement in response to the Government’s announcement that it is holding a three month consultation on setting a new maximum stake for FOBTs and changes relating to social responsibility measures:

‘Today a group of Churches and faith-based organisations have welcomed the Government’s announcement of a consultation on proposals for changes to gaming machines and social responsibility measures, but warned that the range of options presented for a maximum stake for Fixed Odds Betting Terminals is too wide.

In a statement, the Salvation Army, The Church of England, The Methodist Church, the United Reformed Church, The Baptist Union of Great Britain and the Church of Scotland, CARE, The Evangelical Alliance, and Quaker Action on Alcohol and Drugs said:

‘Fixed Odds Betting Terminals present serious problems in society and for local communities, families and individuals.  Evidence links them to patterns of addictive behaviour, large financial losses and anti-social and criminal behaviour.  While we welcome the Government’s consultation, anything approaching an upper limit of £50 would not go far enough to reduce the negative impact these machines can have on individuals, families and the wider society.

Not only is there a major challenge  presented by FOBTs, there are also wider issues associated with gambling that require serious political commitment to address.

We stand by the belief that the maximum stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals must be radically reduced from the current maximum stake of £100.  We believe that this will help to reduce the potentially enormous financial loss that some people experience, and therefore the consequences including debt, depression and crime.  Most of us are committed to a £2 maximum.

We urge the Government to view gambling addiction as a public health issue.  The Department of Health must engage with gambling addiction strategically, at the levels of both prevention as well as treatment for individuals.

Evidence shows that problem gambling causes harm to a disproportionate extent in disadvantaged areas and amongst ethnic minorities.  Local authorities must be empowered to combat the increase of gaming machines and their clustering in disadvantaged areas.

There is also evidence of a strong association between problem gambling and online play.  In this context it is very important that the long awaited multi-operator self-exclusion system for online gambling, first promised by the Government in March 2014, is now implemented as quickly and as robustly as possible.

We are profoundly concerned about the marked growth in gambling advertising and urge the Government to adopt a 9pm watershed which includes the promotion of gambling through sports events.’

Gatherings

The Woodbrooke conference

woodbrookeQAAD holds a biennial gathering at Woodbrooke Quaker Study Centre in Birmingham, to which all Friends are welcome.

The next QAAD/Woodbrooke Gathering will take place on 13th 15th July, 2018. We look forward to seeing old Friends and new.

QAADNET

QAADNET is an informal network of Friends who have an interest or a concern with substances and gambling, whether this is through personal, professional, or voluntary experience. We meet as Quakers for learning, mutual support and exchange.

Our last meeting was held at Bristol Central Quaker Meeting House on a theme of ‘Close Others’.   We will post news of further meetings on this website.