Greater Glasgow Division launch drugs strategy

Published 24 February 2020

For 20 years Lorraine battled with addiction which led to over 70 convictions. Following a near fatal medical issue in 2015, she linked in with the Glasgow Recovery Hubs and Tomorrow's Women Glasgow. This put her on a path to long term recovery and employment with the charity Aid and Abet. She is currently seconded to the Positive Outcomes Project (POP) as a Recovery Co-ordinator helping others.

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Police in Greater Glasgow division are launching a drugs strategy aimed at reducing the number of drug-related deaths.

Figures released by the National Records of Scotland in July 2019 revealed the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area had the highest average number of drug-related deaths across five years. Glasgow City Council had the second highest average among local authority areas.

The strategy is aimed at supporting the Scottish Government approach of tackling drug-related deaths as a public health issue. It emphasises how police can further understand the issues facing vulnerable people with addiction, and direct them to services specific to their needs.

Work has been ongoing with partner agencies since October 2019 and builds on eight days of action in Glasgow’s East End and City Centre last year.

The strategy group includes representatives from Glasgow City Council’s Health and Social Care Partnership, British Transport Police, Positive Outcomes Project, Police Scotland’s Safer Communities division and local area commanders.

Actions in the 12-month delivery plan include raising awareness of referral options available to officers who come into contact with vulnerable people, and internal training and briefings to improve understanding of people living with addiction.

Further proposals which will be looked at include improving referrals within custody, increasing work with people who have lived experience, and training for campus officers to deliver inputs at secondary schools.

Superintendent Gary I’Anson, strategy lead, 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.

“We already feed into other multi-agency groups, such as Alcohol and Drug Partnerships, but this strategy gives us an opportunity to directly influence local policing actions while combining the views of partners."

Learning has been taken from other police operations aimed at tackling drug-related deaths such as Operation Fundamental in Dundee and Operation Threshold in Edinburgh. Feedback and learning from this strategy will be shared with Police Scotland's national drug strategy board.

Superintendent I’Anson added: “One agency alone will not reduce drug related deaths and it is not solely Police Scotland’s responsibility to do this. However we must maximise what we can do, help change attitudes and try different options.

“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.”


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