A new facility which helps parents with problematic drug or alcohol use to enter residential rehabilitation has been opened by the First Minister.
Harper House, in Saltcoats, North Ayrshire, was awarded over £8m in Scottish Government grant funding last year to establish a family rehabilitation service.
The service allows parents to receive treatment without fear of being separated from their children.
It is designed to make it easier for parents to access treatment by allowing mothers or fathers to care for their family while in recovery.
Staff at the centre provide help to support child development, parenting skills and the overall health and wellbeing of all family members.
The facility can support up to 20 families at any one time for placements between three and six months long.
It means that up to 80 families can be supported annually.
Speaking at the opening of the facility on Monday, Nicola Sturgeon explained there is a “strong link” between women having children removed from their care and a risk of drug-related death.
“We are determined to make it easier for people with problem drug or alcohol use to access treatment,” said the First Minister.
“I am pleased to open this facility offering families the chance to stay together while parents receive specialist support in a safe and structured environment.
“Though men are more likely to use and experience harms from drugs, there has been a disproportionate increase in drug-related deaths and there is a strong link between women having children removed from their care and risk of drug-related death.
“Harper House is funded though the Residential Rehabilitation Rapid Capacity Programme and will contribute towards the Scottish Government’s aim to treble the number of publicly funded residential rehabilitation placements to 1,000 by 2026.”
The facility is run by the Phoenix Futures charity.
Chief executive of the charity Karen Biggs said the pressures of family life can make it “impossible” for parents to give their families the care they want.
“We are delighted to be working with Scottish Government to launch this innovative service,” said Biggs.
“Harper House will support families affected by mental health and substance use to access the care they need to lead happy and health lives.
“The pressures of family life, combined with the range of support parents may need to access in their communities, can make it impossible for parents to give their families the care they desire.
“Harper House brings together onsite multi-disciplinary experts, evidence based interventions and a specially designed environment so that families across Scotland can live and learn together.”