'Every penny to count' in £65m fund for frontline tackling drug deaths

Minister Angela Constance said the number of lives lost to drugs is 'still too high' in Scotland.

Drugs minister pledges to make ‘every penny count’ in £65m fund for frontline services to tackle deaths iStock

Scotland’s drugs policy minister has pledged to make “every penny count” in funding services set up to help reduce the number of lives being lost in the country.

Angela Constance made the commitment as life-saving organisations are urged to apply for a share of a £65m pot.

The money is being provided from the £250m national mission funding.

Initiatives that help people who use drugs to turn their lives around, as well as offering support to their families, are being invited to make an application.

Funds will go towards projects such as Aberdeen Alcohol and Drugs Action, which earlier this year was given nearly £500,000.

Sums are administered through the COBRA Foundation – a charity which aims to make grants available to projects that make a difference to people and communities.

Constance explained that the Government wants to support organisations that work to save lives.

“The number of lives lost to drugs is still too high in Scotland and these funds are vital for those services working on the frontline to help those affected and their families,” she said.

“These organisations save lives and we want to support them so they can extend as far into their communities as possible and offer people the support they need when and where they need it.

“£65m of the additional £250m set aside for the national mission on drug deaths over the course of this parliament will go directly to these funds and we are determined to make every penny count.”

Aberdeen Alcohol and Drugs Action service manager Simon Pringle outlined the impact of the funding.

“The Drug Improvement Fund has allowed ADA to offer a more flexible service to clients who find accessing mainstream or statutory services, including treatment, difficult,” he said.

“Since receiving the funding we have offered help to over 150 individuals helping them access support, engage with NHS Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT), re-engage with services and receive sterile injecting equipment.

“We have been able to target those most at risk and see them quickly, usually the same day, therefore reducing the risks of overdose or other harms.

“Without the fund we wouldn’t have been able to achieve this.”

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