Police reveal new plan to tackle drug deaths

The public health approach comes as UK and Scottish governments prepare to host drug summits.

Police officers are to be better trained to help drug users as part of plans to cut the number of substance-related deaths.

Officers are often the first personnel to respond to vulnerable people in crisis situations.

A new strategy being launched in the Greater Glasgow police division will see officers better skilled in directing people to other agencies that can offer help.

Police Scotland says the drive supports the Scottish Government approach to tackling drug-related deaths as a public health issue.

The plan comes as the UK and Scottish governments prepare to host separate drugs summits in Glasgow this week.

Superintendent Gary I’Anson said: “The strategy is about improving our understanding of drug addiction and how we can play our part in the wider public health approach to tackling drug-related deaths.

“Police officers are often the first responders to incidents so our approach and understanding of drug deaths and drug crime can be crucial.”

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area topped a table of drug-related deaths, according to National Records of Scotland figures released last year.

The 12-month plan will include raising awareness of referral options available to officers who come into contact with vulnerable people.

Officers will also be subject to internal training and briefings to improve their understanding of people living with addiction.

Further proposals which will be looked at include improving referrals within custody and training for campus officers working in secondary schools.

Superintendent I’Anson added: “There is no quick solution to reducing drug-related deaths.

“We look forward to implementing and reviewing this strategy over the next 12 months not only to help those with addiction, but to improve our communities.”

The government summits are due to take place at the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow – on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.

The Scottish Government has repeatedly appealed to the UK Government for the devolution of drug powers to Holyrood, in a bid to better tackle the problem, however Westminster has refused their requests.

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