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More than £250 million for drug deaths emergency

Thursday January 21st, 2021

An additional £50 million will be allocated every year for the next five years to improve and increase services for people affected by drug addiction.

Talks have been taking place with people with lived experience, a range of organisations and the Drug Deaths Taskforce following the publication in December of statistics which showed that in 2019 there were 1,264 drug related deaths in Scotland.

In a statement to Parliament, the First Minister said a national mission was needed to turn things around.

She outlined a number of areas where improvements will be made and a further £5 million is being allocated in this financial year to ensure work starts immediately. These actions include:

  • substantially increasing the number of residential rehabilitation beds across the country
  • reducing stigma and increasing the number of people in treatment for their addiction  
  • allocating funding directly to Alcohol and Drug Partnerships, third sector and grassroots organisations to improve  work in communities
  • widening the distribution of naloxone
  • implementing new standards for medicine-assisted treatment to ensure equitable services for all drug users
  • reassessing how overdose prevention facilities might be established despite legal barriers

The First Minister said:

“Anyone who ends up losing their life as a result of drug addiction, is not just failed at the time of their death – in most cases, they will have been failed repeatedly throughout their whole life.

“I believe that if we have the will, we can and we will find the ways to stop this happening.

“Doing so requires a national mission to end what is currently a national disgrace.

“It is a reasonable criticism to say that this government should have done more earlier, and I accept that.

“But I am determined that we will provide this national mission with the leadership, focus, and resources that it needs.”

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