Drugs deaths in area soar by 80 per cent

One per­son a week is vic­tim

Wishaw Press - - FRONT PAGE - Gary Fan­ning

Drug-re­lated deaths across La­nark­shire have rock­eted by al­most 80 per cent in a decade.

Shock news data shows there were 73 deaths across the county in 2015 com­pared to 41 in 2005.

There were 42 drug deaths in North La­nark­shire and 31 in South La­nark­shire last year.

The Na­tional Records of Scot­land yearly re­port shows that on av­er­age more than one per­son per week dies in La­nark­shire as a direct re­sult of drugs.

La­nark­shire’s big­gest drug threat con­tin­ues to be heroin af­ter 43 peo­ple died in 2015 as a re­sult of over­dos­ing on the drug. The sec­ond dead­li­est drug is the heroin sub­sti­tute Methadone with 14 peo­ple dy­ing as a direct re­sult of the drug, mainly used to help wean ad­dicts away from heroin.

The re­port recorded that al­to­gether opi­ates were the re­sult of 60 out of the 73 drug deaths in the La­nark­shire area.

In the same year it was re­vealed the Scot­tish Govern­ment was cut­ting direct fund­ing to Al­co­hol and Drug Part­ner­ships by £15 mil­lion pounds, drug deaths in Scot­land have al­most reached 2013’s record level.

Con­ser­va­tive MSP Gra­ham Simp­son is shocked that fund­ing is be­ing cut in­stead of in­creased and the num­ber of deaths in Scot­land should act as a wake up call to the Scot­tish Govern­ment.

He said; “Drug deaths have soared while fund­ing for drug re­cov­ery has been slashed. The fund for the De­liv­ery of the Road to Re­cov­ery drug strat­egy is be­ing cut Scot­land wide by more than £250,000 pounds this year.

“It’s in­cred­i­ble that this type of fund­ing is be­ing cut when record num­bers are los­ing their lives to drugs. The statis­tics should act as a wake-up call to the SNP. They need to act now. Each death is a per­sonal, fam­ily and com­mu­nity tragedy.”

In 2008 the De­liv­ery of the Road to Re­cov­ery was un­veiled by the Scot­tish Govern­ment as a new strat­egy to bat­tle Scot­land’s drug prob­lem.

Fo­cussing on re­cov­ery rather than ad­dic­tion. Ac­cord­ing to the doc­u­ment pub­lished by the Scot­tish Govern­ment the pur­pose of the new strat­egy ‘ to sig­nal a change in the way that Scot­land deals with its drug prob­lem.”

Cen­tral Scot­land MSP Mon­ica Len­non is call­ing for more to be done to sup­port those with ad­dic­tions.

Ms Len­non, Scot­tish Labour’s in­equal­i­ties spokesper­son, said: “It’s very wor­ry­ing to see the num­ber of drug-re­lated deaths con­tinue to rise.

“It’s clear that these fig­ures in­di­cate a dis­turb­ing up­ward trend over the last decade and are not just a sta­tis­ti­cal fluke.

“This should be a wake- up call to the SNP Govern­ment that more needs to be done to sup­port those with ad­dic­tions and that con­sis­tently cut­ting the bud­get for lo­cal au­thor­i­ties and health boards does not come with­out con­se­quences.”

Aileen Camp­bell, Cly­des­dale MSP and Min­is­ter for Pub­lic Health and Sport, said: “Each one of these deaths is a per­sonal tragedy for the fam­ily and friends in­volved, and I would like to of­fer my sin­cere sym­pa­thy to any­one af­fected by the loss of some­one who has died as a re­sult of drug use.

“How­ever, these fig­ures show that we have an age­ing group of drug users who are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing in­creas­ingly poor health. This is a le­gacy of Scot­land’s drug mis­use which stretches back decades.

“To ad­dress this we have funded re­search to in­ves­ti­gate the is­sues as­so­ci­ated with older drug users through the Scot­tish Drugs Fo­rum. We have also achieved sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tions in treat­ment times for those need­ing treat­ment for their drug prob­lem.

“We re­main com­mit­ted to tack­ling the scourge of il­le­gal drugs and the dam­age they do to our com­mu­ni­ties, and to sup­port those who are strug­gling with ad­dic­tion.”

Chief Su­per­in­ten­dent Barry McEwan, of Safer Com­mu­ni­ties, said: “The fig­ures con­tinue to show that drugs have a sig­nif­i­cant neg­a­tive im­pact on our com­mu­ni­ties across Scot­land, claim­ing lives and dev­as­tat­ing fam­i­lies. The rise in dru­gre­lated deaths is dis­ap­point­ing and un­for­tu­nately ev­ery death leaves a tragedy in our com­mu­ni­ties and shows there is no safe way to take drugs – those who choose to take the risk of us­ing drugs are risk­ing their life.”

Wor­ried MSPMon­ica Len­non is call­ing for ac­tion

Shocked Con­ser­va­tive MSP Gra­ham Simp­son

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