Road to recovery


In late 2011, I met the Minister for Community Safety – Roseanna Cunningham – following the spike in drug deaths in the area, over half of which involved methadone.

Last week, a key report was published confirming what we knew then – that the Scottish Government’s drug strategy isn’t working for Inverclyde, or indeed, the country as a whole.

It confirmed that while Methadone has a role to play in helping people tackle drug addiction, there are users who are being parked on the drug, with not enough being done to give them a route out of the life style.

It said that Alcohol and Drug partnerships are often failing to produce clear plans and objective reports about how to help individuals overcome their addiction.

Moreover, the report raised concerns that there has been a failure to collate key information which is crucial in determining progress toward recovery, such as the length of time individuals have been taking methadone and the number of occasions they have accessed rehabilitation services.

The expert group on opioid replacements who produced the report has made a number of recommendations.

They have said there should be a greater emphasis on helping addicts recover from their addiction and ensuring better training for staff involved in drug services to enable this to happen.

They have called for robust data systems that will collate information to prove that clear progress is being made with regard to recovery.

And they called for Alcohol and Drug partnerships function to be reviewed urgently with clear improvement measures developed and monitored with clear timeframes for change.

In the coming weeks I will be meeting with Roseanna Cunningham, and the experts who produced the report, to see what action they will take to ensure the Scottish Government’s Drug Strategy is put on the road back to recovery.