Minister’s Visit Recognises Alcohol And Drugs Partnership Work In Dumfries And Galloway 

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THE Scottish Government Minister for Drugs Policy heard about the ongoing work of the Alcohol and Drugs Partnership across Dumfries and Galloway during a visit to the region last week.  

People continue to die from fatal drug overdoses in Dumfries and Galloway, as in the rest of Scotland. The region saw 29 suspected drug-related deaths in 2021. There have been 21 so far this year (to 9th June) though this is slightly fewer than in the same period in 2021.

Welcoming Angela Constance MSP’s visit on Wednesday, independent chair of Dumfries and Galloway Alcohol and Drug’s Partnership Penny Halliday said: “We were very pleased to welcome Ms Constance, and for the opportunity to discuss approaches to addressing alcohol and drug dependency.

“During her visit we talked about the ongoing work being undertaken by the Alcohol and Drug Partnership, and the services which look to provide treatment, recovery, support, and advice to everyone touched by the effects of alcohol and drugs.
“Highlighting the support that is available to people and approaches which can limit some of the worst consequences of drug and alcohol use is absolutely vital.”

Ms Constance’s visit was hosted at the Dumfries office of the charity We Are With You, which provides drug and alcohol support across the region.

The Minister met with senior managers from Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership (DGHSCP) and people working on the front line to help those with addictions.

The region’s Assertive Outreach programme is a joint project between the NHS Specialist Drug and Alcohol Service and We are With You. It was set up in 2020 to help reduce the number of drug-related deaths.

The NHS Specialist Drug and Alcohol Service provides treatment and clinical support for people who use drugs or alcohol. Dumfries and Galloway ADP commission a Talking Therapies Service and the Being There Family Support Service both provided by Alcohol and Drugs Support SWS. These services offer people and their family members an opportunity to talk about their issue, thoughts and feelings with a qualified counsellor.

We Are With You are also commissioned by the ADP to support people with who use drugs or alcohol by providing them or their families with advice on addiction, social and psychological support, and other types of help such as needle exchanges and naloxone provision.

We Are With You Dumfries service manager Chris Walker said: “The pandemic has caused a huge amount of stress for many people in the region in all sorts of ways. Some people have lost their jobs, some have become homeless, and, especially for young people, lockdown has been very difficult psychologically.
“In many cases this has meant that they now have problems with drug or alcohol addiction as well, or those problems have become much worse than they were before 2020.
“All of this has happened, for some of them, very quickly. They have gone from having a stable and relatively calm life to having several serious difficulties to deal with, and that is particularly hard for them.”

Angela Constance also met members of local Recovery Communities, which are groups set up to provide peer support to people who use drugs or alcohol.

Faye Hardy, the Recovery Communities coordinator, said: “The most important thing for someone with an addiction is to see that recovery is possible. That’s what lived-experience volunteers can do – they have been through that journey themselves, they know what it’s like, and the people they’re helping can see that someone else has already reached the goal they’re aiming for themselves.”

The Dumfries and Galloway Alcohol and Drugs Partnership website, http://www.stopdgdrugdeaths.co.uk, lists local services which help people who use drugs or alcohol and their families.