Scottish Drugs Forum (SDF) welcomes the announcement of an additional £20 million funding over two years for drug services in Scotland.
The announcement, made in the Scottish Government’s Programme For Government published on the 3rd of September, is intended to increase direct support for projects to test new and innovative approaches, improve services and reduce preventable drug-related deaths.
The Programme states:
“We cannot address problem drug use and the harm it causes without addressing the root causes of these issues. Many people who use drugs also endure homelessness, violence and mental health problems.
“The recent statistics showing a rise in the numbers of drugs deaths in Scotland means that we must act urgently. Accordingly, this Programme for Government commits us to invest a further £20 million over two years to support local services and provide targeted support.”
David Liddell, CEO of Scottish Drugs Forum, commented:
“ We welcome the First Minister’s announcement and the Programme For Government. We are greatly encouraged that preventable drug overdose deaths are now receiving necessary focus.
“Evidence-based treatment delivered to high standards and strong leadership are key to an effective response – if this issue is to be addressed.
“Scotland has the unenviable record of having the highest rate in Europe in terms of preventable overdose deaths – this must not be allowed to continue.
“Government has rightly acknowledged that urgent action is required to reduce drug deaths and this announcement should offer some hope to individuals, families and communities who suffer disproportionately.
“The commitment of resources to treatment services will be welcomed across the drugs field. For decades drug treatment services have operated as Cinderella services – often isolated and tasked with doing not only their own work, but additionally work that should be undertaken by mainstream health and other services. They provide vital crisis support on almost every issue to some of the most vulnerable people in Scotland. This situation has contributed to the serious issues with the quality of services that were identified again most recently in the report of the Dundee drug commission.
“We look forward to seeing this money invested and used to drive improvement in services in terms of access and retention that follows the evidence base.”