Local drug services need to be reinvented within the next year or face repeating mistakes that have killed hundreds in the last decade, the Dundee Drugs Commission has concluded.
In the last 18 months the group has heard from over 1,000 people ranging from drug users, experts and service providers on where drug policy in Dundee is failing.
Its 80-page report, released today in response to the city’s drug death rates, summarises what it calls “a compelling story of a system that is not fit for purpose”.
There were 66 drug-related deaths in Dundee in 2018 – the second-highest per-head rate in the whole of Scotland.
Civic leaders from the Dundee Partnership have vowed to act on the 16 recommendations drawn up by the Commission, which wants to see proof of this within a year.
The report – which mentions “death” or “deaths” 180 times – says drug users are being treated with contempt by city services.
The integrated substance misuse service (ISMS) at Constitution House faces some of the heaviest criticism – with hundreds falling out of treatment regimes each year.
Read more about the drug deaths rate in Dundee here
Commissioners reported “significant and unnecessary delays” in accessing ISMS records – and believe they were seen by service bosses as a “threat”.
The ISMS is partly administrated by Dundee’s health and social care partnership. Its chair, David Lynch, said the Commission’s findings on the ISMS were “welcome”.
Alongside improving treatment, the Commission has called for the elimination of stigma towards drug users, and to better provide better mental health support for those experiencing issues.
It concluded: “We challenge the Dundee Partnership to having ‘a year of kindness and compassion’ to get things moving in the right direction and reignite the hope that things can and will change.”