Fears that there would be a massive escalation in Dundee’s drugs problem during the pandemic are so far unfounded.
When lockdown was first announced, there were concerns that substance abuse support services would be hindered from reaching people in need, which would lead to the number of deaths spiralling.
However Dave Barrie of We are With You – formerly Addaction – said so far the charity has not experienced a worsening of the city’s drugs crisis.
He said: “A few weeks ago we were very concerned about the impact of this pandemic on our ongoing drugs problem in Dundee.
“However, so far we can safely say we are not seeing the major concerns that were worrying us.
“There doesn’t appear to be a Covid-19 problem among habitual drug users in Dundee and there is also not a serious escalation in drug use.
“Yes drugs are still coming into Dundee and yes people are still using – and there are still overdoses being reported – but that has not increased at the level we feared.”
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Dave said that the charity and other services may even be able to use the way they have adapted in the pandemic to improve or widen their outreach in the future.
He added: “We were initially very worried, particularly as we were aware that we wouldn’t be able to provide face-to-face support to those people who needed it.
“Anxiety over the mental wellbeing of drug users was a massive concern but we have formed partnerships with other groups in the city and we have increased online support where it is needed and this seems largely to be working.”
Meanwhile, Carol Evans, who works with young people in Dundee through Lifeline Family Support, shared Dave’s optimism about the current situation and the coming months.
Carol said: “I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to offer the same contact counselling that we did before.
“We did have worries that the drugs problems might get worse. However, we have been offering a lot of support over the phone and online and there doesn’t appear to be a major escalation in drug use among young people.
“They still have worries and concerns but we are managing to address these with the support we are currently offering.”