People being supported at a drug support group

Scottish government response to drug report

The Scottish Government has outlined was that they are to take action and support people in response to the final report from the Drug Deaths Taskforce.

More than 80 actions are to be backed with £68 million worth of funding over the course of the current parliament, with the response being underpinned by two main principles. These are that the services treating drugs use the same as any other health condition, and that people with lives experience are involved in policy decisions.

Angela Constance, Drugs Policy Minister, said:

Every drug death is a tragedy and unacceptable. We continue to face a public health emergency and cannot underestimate the scale of the crisis.

“The Drug Deaths Taskforce was formed to provide independent expert advice on our response to this emergency and this cross-government action plan includes a board range of initiatives which will not only support the complex needs of people who use drugs but also help support prevention and early intervention.

“This publication outlines our whole government commitment to addressing this challenge and ensuring that people with problem substance use can access all the services they need and are entitled to.

“I think the Taskforce members, past and present, for their important contribution. The final report, Changing Lives, has provided us with clear, evidenced recommendations and our response outlines a new, even more ambitious, phase of our mission to save and improve lives.”

In the announcement, the government stated that many of the recommendations and actions are already being addressed, however some of the new announcements include:

  • £30 million ringfenced from the Enhanced Services Allocation to NHS territorial Boards from April 2023 to support specific drug treatment services within primary care settings
  • £18 million to develop stabilisation and crisis care services, in addition to the £100 million already available for residential rehabilitation
  • £4.3 million for a Stigma Action Plan which includes an accreditation scheme for organisations to improve awareness and challenge stigma across public life
  • £5.5 million for new programmes for children and families including the expansion of Routes, a young person’s support group run by Scottish Families Affected By Drugs
  • £3.4 million additional funding to deliver a workforce action plan and expand the Addiction Workers Training Programme run by the Scottish Drugs Forum and an additional £3.3 million to expand trauma training
  • £2.4 million to improve care for people with co-occurring mental health and substance use conditions to build on the recommendations set out in the recent rapid review
  • Half a million for an initial pilot to expand the concessionary travel scheme to include people with a substance dependency

The measures being taken by the Scottish Government will cover a broad range of areas, with employment, justice, transport, education and health and social care all contributing to the improvement of the lives of people affected by drugs.

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