Phoenix responds to the release of Scotland’s drug-related death figures

Once again Scotland recorded record levels of drug related deaths

Karen Biggs, chief executive, and Lyndsey Wilson-Hague, head of operations at Phoenix Futures, discuss the latest drug-related death figures released by the National Records of Scotland.

The statistics we have seen today are shocking and deeply saddening. At Phoenix, we know how painful it is to lose a loved one or family member as a result of drugs; a brother, sister, son, daughter, mother, father, partner, friend. The stigma people who use drugs experience, often extends to their families and has an impact on how families are able to grieve and mourn their loved one. Our thoughts are with everyone who has experienced loss this year and those affected by the deaths being announced today.

Many of those deaths could have been prevented if more people were able to readily access treatment. More people would come into treatment if a wider range of treatment options were available across Scotland.

The announcement in early 2021 from the First Minister was very welcome – more funding for a wider range of treatment options including residential treatment and ongoing support so the progress that people make in treatment can be sustained in their local communities and their recovery long-lasting.

Unfortunately, not all residential providers have yet seen the impact of this additional funding. From our experiences this year of working closely with people from across a range of local authorities in Scotland, some are still finding it extremely challenging to access residential treatment, navigate local pathways and get the treatment and support they seek and need.

81% of people who come to our residential rehabilitation service in Glasgow complete their programme and/or move on to further aftercare support. By engaging with the programme, they are able to develop a range of life-changing skills that support sustained recovery. Sadly, this treatment option is still not available to all people across Scotland. Despite it having a clear evidence base, being cited in UK clinical guidance and funding been made available.

Phoenix Futures Scotland are committed to working with families, people who use drugs, lived experience groups, statutory services, charities and the Scottish Government to create better choices for people to access the treatment that works for them, and at the right time for them. So people can get well and families can avoid the heartbreak of losing a loved one.

Our thoughts are with all 1,339 people who sadly lost their lives, their families and loved ones at this time

Read the full blog post here.

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