31st August, 2014
Government’s drug strategy isn’t working
Another year and yet another report highlighting the tragic nature of drug misuse. The National Records of Scotland (NRS) released figures on Wednesday showing thatthe number of drug-related deaths in Scotland has risen to its highest level since records began. The report revealed 613 people died as a result of drugs in 2014.
Here in Inverclyde there were 17 deaths a jump from 10 in the previous year. Over the last decade there have been a total of 108 lives lost locally. Methadone was reported in 47 of these cases.
It’s evident from this most recent report from the NRS that the Scottish Government’s drug strategy simply isn’t working for Inverclyde or for the rest of Scotland. The government needs to realise this and examine what more can be done to try and prevent such deaths from happening. Big questions need to be answered as to how access to treatment can be improved and what can be done to encourage drug users onto rehabilitation programmes.
With the flurry of press headlines that inevitably come when such tragic incidences are revealed, it’s important to remember that these cases are just the tip of the iceberg. The impact of drug misuse extends beyond the individual.
It devastates families. It’s a source of the anti-social behaviour problems that exist locally. And it’s also a major cause of crime. Indeed, only last week we read in the Greenock Telegraphof the concerns of Chief Inspector Elliot Brown about the connection between violent crime and the mixing of drugs and alcohol.
It’s clear the Scottish Governmentneeds a major re-think of its drug strategy if we are going to protect individuals, families and the wider community.