A Christian presence in every community

Alcohol & drugs

The Church of England has a long history of working alongside people who misuse alcohol and drugs. It tries to promote social conditions which will allow people to live with dignity without turning to alcohol or illegal drugs. It also tries to encourage that sense of self-confidence in individuals which will help them resist the pressures of a drug-taking society.


March 2012 A coalition of national Churches and charities, including the CofE, has welcomed reports that the Government plans to enforce a minimum unit price on alcohol sales. But the groups warn that a long delay on implementation could cost lives.

February 2005 an in depth review of the Church of England's current policy not to invest in brewers, distillers and operators of pub companies concluded that this is still a relevant investment exclusion for the Church. Read the press release.

1998 the Board for Social Responsibility published a briefing paper on Alcohol Misuse


July 2004 General Synod (the Church's Parliament) debated 'Drug Misuse' and carried this motion:

'That this Synod, concerned about the extent of drug misuse at all levels of society, urge the Archbishops' Council, diocesan and deanery synods and parishes, as appropriate, to hold informed and Christ-centred discussions with experienced drug workers, pharmacologists and health care professionals about the ways in which the Church can be involved with the Christian and secular agencies already working in this field.'

2001 Board for Social Responsibility made a submission to the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee which was reviewing the Misuse of Drugs Act 1981. The submission advocated the decriminalisation of the use of cannabis and called for other changes in the prescription on the NHS of controlled substances such as diamorphine.

July 1998 General Synod debate and successful motion

'That this Synod, noting the great increase in the amount of drug misuse in our society:

i.        deplore the destructive effects of drugs on individuals and communities;

ii.        welcome Her Majesty's Government's intention of improving the co-ordination of efforts to tackle drugs misuse;

iii.        recognise that such efforts must include serious measures to address the issue of education as well as the symptoms of drug dependence; and

iv.        commend the efforts of those, including Churches and Christian organisations, giving practical help to those individuals and communities whose lives have been blighted by drugs.

Further Reading:
Kenneth Leech, Drugs and the Church (GS Misc 527 1998)
Kenneth Leech, Drugs and Pastoral Care (DLT (1998)


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