Drug Review Needed
Statistics released today show that the number of people who died in Inverclyde from drug related deaths has reached a ten year high.
There were 20 drug related deaths in Inverclyde in 2011 last year over half of which involved methadone.
The number of deaths for Scotland overall has increased substantially.
There were 584 deaths in 2011 up 99 on the previous year and a 76% increase on 2001. In 47% of the cases Methadone was implicated in or potentially contributed to the death.
Local MSP Duncan McNeil says that the number of death involving Methodone raised serious questions as to whether the Scottish Governments drugs strategy is working and has called for a review.
“I am concerned about the prevalence of methadone in these cases. For some people it can be useful but others need more focused support. Too many people are being locked into a system that doesn't challenge their behaviour and doesn't give them a route out of the lifestyle."
Last year Mr McNeil met with Roseanna Cunningham, the Scottish Government minister for community safety, to raise his concerns about the number of people who had died as a consequence of drugs.
When the Minister visited Inverclyde she made a commitment to review the drug action teams.
But Mr McNeil believes that crucial lessons have not been learned.
The Greenock and Inverclyde MSP said:
"Last year the minister agreed, in her correspondence to me, that the increase was not acceptable. Now we are faced with a further unacceptable rise in drug deaths. I will be writing to her again to express my disappointment that whatever action has taken place has not worked. It is now time to act.
He added: "We need to face up to the fact that we have a significant problem - not just with the deaths but the prevalence of drugs.
"What is clear is that the current strategy is not working in Scotland, and particularly in Inverclyde."