Commission aims to bring drug deaths in the city down to zero
A TEAM of specialists is aiming to bring drug deaths in Dundee down to zero.
The Dundee Drug Misuse Commission, a collective of experts from various fields put together in response to the increasing number of drug-related deaths in the city, also hopes to set an example to the rest of the country.
The group held its inaugural meeting yesterday just weeks after it was revealed that 72 people lost their lives to suspected drug deaths in Dundee in the last 12 months — the highest reported figure in living memory.
Thought to be the first forum of its kind nationally, it will see “commissioners” from local and national agencies come together to tackle the issue.
People utilising drug services, those with a history of drug problems and family members who have been affected will be asked to give evidence alongside contributions from agencies and partners.
So far, 40 people have responded to the call for evidence.
Speaking after what was described as a “really positive” meeting, Councillor Ken Lynn, chairman of Dundee’s Health and Social Care Partnership, said the group was aiming to better the lives of those “at the bottom of pile”.
He said: “I am hoping to see some progress in reducing drug deaths and making sure there are better outcomes for people.
‘‘The idea would be to make a difference for everyone, especially those who are at the bottom of the pile – drug users who are living in deprivation and dicing with death.
“I would like to think we can bring drug deaths in the city down to zero. That is the target, not five or 10.”
The group has been tasked with presenting findings to the Dundee Partnership within a year.
However, Mr Lynn pledged that any findings which could pay immediate dividends would be rolled out as soon as possible.
Chairman Robert Peat said the most important aim of the commission is to “identify ways that the drug-related death rate in the city can be reduced and to save lives”.
He added: “It is a horrible situation and we don’t want to see that continuing.
“There are drug problems everywhere but in Dundee we are seeing a particular age group – not just young drug users.
‘‘We are also seeing people in their middle years fall victim to drug