Response to latest Scottish drug death figures

published on 28 Jul 2022

Compassion is key to recovery from addiction

The Salvation Army responds to the latest drug death figures

Malcolm Page Salvation Army Assistant Territorial Director for homelessness services (north including Scotland ) said:

“These are deeply concerning figures, but we must not accept them as inevitable. The Salvation Army’s approach to supporting people living with addiction takes a harm reduction approach, which means we support someone to tackle, not only the addiction itself, but the roots and causes of their behaviour in the first place.  

“We have seen many lives transformed with this person-centred approach and Government figures show that a harm reduction policy works*. Moreover, the Scottish Drug Deaths Taskforce's recent report ** also called for a compassionate approach to tackling addiction and we back the taskforce’s  call for a significant increase in funding for therapeutic addiction support services.

“The Salvation Army works with some of the most vulnerable of people but despite that we can report a very significant reduction in drug related deaths in the last year. We believe in seeing the person not the problem. Investing in services that offer this approach to addiction is the most effective way of reversing levels of drug and alcohol deaths.  Compassion and connection saves lives.”***


* The ACMD (Governments Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs)  report (2019) highlights how harm reduction work with those experiencing homelessness and actively using substances provides a supportive approach that has an evidence base in the reduction of the harms related to their substance use. International evidence (Aldridge et al 2018, Canavan et al 2012, Fazel 2014) supports the effectiveness of this approach in the engagement of highly marginalised target populations, such as those experiencing homelessness.


*** The overdose stats in Salvation Army HSU service 2020-2021 reduced from 45-14


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