Government committed to supporting recovery
The Scottish Government is committed to supporting the recovery of those affected by drug addiction, Minister for Community Safety and Legal Affairs Roseanna Cunningham reaffirmed today.
Ms Cunningham was speaking following the publication of figures which showed the number of drug deaths in Scotland last year was 584.
Speaking ahead of a visit to the North East Recovery Hub, an NHS Lothian facility which provides alcohol and drug treatment services to men and women in the north east of Edinburgh, Ms Cunningham said:
“These figures published today represent 584 lives lost in communities across Scotland. Every one of these deaths is a tragedy and I extend my sympathies to the family members, friends and everyone connected.
“Today’s publication once again underlines Scotland has a legacy of drug misuse that stretches back decades, creating this upward ten year trend in drug-related deaths. Many of those lost to us are older drug users who after years have become increasingly unwell.
“No Government has done more to address the legacy and while it will take time to tackle this tragedy, we will do that through continuing to invest and support the recovery of those affected by drugs in Scotland.
“It is this Government’s firm belief that recovery from serious drug addiction is possible. The Road to Recovery – the Scottish Government's national drugs strategy unanimously endorsed and reaffirmed by the Scottish Parliament – aims to address the distressing legacy of decades of drugs misuse, the product of which is brought sharply in to focus with today drug-related death figures.
“We are investing £28.6m for front-line drug treatment and recovery services in 2012/13 – an investment which represents an increase of over 20 per cent since 2006/07. We are also dramatically bringing waiting times for treatment down and are on course to achieve a maximum of three weeks by 2013. Furthermore, we are achieving our commitment to offer long term supported recovery to all who need it – a commitment which has seen 15,000 people coming in to treatment in 2011/12, bringing the total to more than 40,000 since 2007.
“Scotland is leading the way in recovery and developing innovative ways of supporting hard to reach groups in to recovery. We have been rolling out a national programme, within communities, health boards and the Scottish Prison Service, to supply naloxone kits and training to those at risk of an opiate overdose. Naloxone can and does save lives and offers a second chance of recovery. As with tackling the legacy of drug misuse, the impact of the rollout of naloxone will take time to have a sustainable and long-term impact on drug-related deaths in Scotland.
“We will continue to work closely with the independent group of experts National Forum for Drug Related Deaths and partners from the voluntary, statutory, policy and academic fields to tackle the number of drug related deaths.
“No one is lost to us – people can and do recover from drug problems and addiction.”