Grassroots teams who aid drug users in their recovery have shrugged off claims that professionals see them as a “threat” to their work.
A newly released set of reports from the Dundee Drugs Commission claim frontline addiction services do not “acknowledge or respect” groups like Recovery Dundee.
For the last three years the organisation has helped to support those looking to begin their lives afresh after treatment.
But evidence gathered from interviews with city drug users found community efforts to support people through their recovery were seen as a “threat” by medical professionals.
The report read: “(There was) very positive feedback on the impact of Recovery Dundee which has demonstrated it is possible to build trusted relationships and support people to grow sense of (their) self-worth. However, there is a sense that services do not acknowledge or respect this – not a partnership approach.
“(There is a) sense that services feel threatened by Recovery Dundee and don’t acknowledge how it can complement – they can never do what Recovery Dundee does.”
Sharon Brand, of Recovery Dundee, said frontline services needed to know their role and step back once that had been fulfilled.
She said: “We are what comes after services, we are the bumper between services and the community. We are the safety net to stop people from going back into the system if they don’t need to.
“Services are not part of recovery and shouldn’t try to be. But we want to work in partnership with them going forward.”
More than 300 pages of detailed evidence gathered by the Dundee Drugs Commission was published on Wednesday, coinciding with a meeting of city service bosses to formally respond to its August report.
Excerpts from interviews held with dozens of those with lived experience of substance use also found that families were sometimes so desperate for help they would resort to threatening to write to government ministers if their loved ones were not being treated quickly enough.
Simon Little, independent chairman of the Dundee alcohol and drug partnership, has vowed that city services will improve.
Observers have called for such action to be swift.
Dave Barrie, service manager at Addaction Dundee, said: “We must now double if not quadruple our efforts to prevent further drug deaths in Dundee.”