Drug Strategy Debate


Politicians gathered in parliament last week to debate the issue of how best to tackle our country’s problem with drug misuse. There are currently 60,000 drug users in Scotland around 1,600 of which are here in Inverclyde being managed and supported by dedicated drug workers and self-support groups and voluntary projects.


The debate came on the back of the record number of drug deaths that were recorded in Scotland last year, around half of which involved methadone.


In 2011 there were 584 deaths, up 20% on 2010 and up 76 per cent on 2001. Tragically, in Inverclyde there were 20 drugs deaths and methadone was implicated in over fifty percent of these. This represents a ten year peak for the area.


A major focus and concern of the debate was the perception that some users are being parked on methadone for some 20 years and that too many are indulging in the dangerous practice of topping up with illegal drugs, which is contributing to the increase of drug deaths in Scotland.


It is clear that we need more focus on those who are committed to recovery and sadly that means recognising that some addicts are past the point of recovery and that radical and different solutions need to be found to address the issues of that group.


For others of course, we need to accept that they enjoy the drug lifestyle, and while we hope they come to the point where they are committed to recovery, we have to accept that some are simply not interested.


And that’s why, as I argued in the debate last week, its imperative we target resources and finance toward those who are committed to getting off drugs as well as the families that live with the devastating consequences of drug addiction.