‘Man left at death’s door by broken drug addiction services’

Favor UK wants the provision of addiction and rehabilitation services underpinned by law.

‘Man left at death’s door by broken drug addiction services’ Favor UK

A man has been left at “death’s door” by “broken” drug addiction services in Glasgow, a charity has said.

Jamie has struggled to get the help he needs and said he was told he was “not appropriate” for rehab.

Annemarie Ward, chief executive of addiction charity Favor UK, became Jamie’s named advocate after the 41-year-old became desperate.

“He was begging, he was at death’s door weighing about seven-and-a-half or eight stone,” she told STV News.

“I started going through the process of advocating for him. That was seven or eight weeks ago and since then we have hit brick wall after brick wall.”

“The system is broken, there is no doubt about that.”

Annemarie Ward, chief executive of Favor UK

Jamie grew up in the care system and took part in the Independent Care Review after suffering from extreme PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) as a result of sexual abuse.

He first became addicted to heroin in his 20s and has been on and off methadone since.

Ms Ward said that Friday was the first time Jamie met his Glasgow Addiction Services case manager, despite asking for rehab for two years.

“They are acting with impunity across the UK. There is no set standard or legislative guidelines or regulatory bodies that they have to answer to. The system is broken, there is no doubt about that,” Ms Ward said.

Favor UK wants the provision of addiction and rehabilitation services underpinned by law.

Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross raised Jamie’s case in parliament on Thursday and asked Nicola Sturgeon to take “real action”.

Scottish Parliament

He said: “He has been trying to get into rehab for two years but keeps hearing he is ‘not appropriate’ for rehab.

“This man is at death’s door. Today he is having a mental health assessment. Just another hoop he has to jump through because he wants to get better.

“His only hope it seems is private rehab because of a charity’s generosity. This individual case is shocking. But it is being repeated all over our country.”

The Tories will publish a draft Right to Recovery Bill before parliament’s summer recess next week. The legislation would give drug users a right to residential rehab treatment – “a right in law to the treatment they need”, Ross said.

The First Minister said the Bill could be fast-tracked through Holyrood, like Covid-legislation, if there was consensus across the chamber.

Scottish Parliament

She said: “I will look with an open mind at any proposals that are brought forward, including proposals for legislation.”

Sturgeon said the Scottish Government had “failed in aspects of drugs policy” but was “determined to get it right”.

More than 1200 people died in Scotland last year as a result of drug misuse – the highest annual figure on record.

It is the worst rate in Europe and three-and-half times that of the UK as a whole in terms of the number of deaths per million people.

Joe FitzPatrick resigned as minister with responsibility for drugs policy in December. His replacement Angela Constance will set out “significant financial investment” that will back up new standards on care and treatment on Thursday afternoon.

Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership has been approached for comment.