Scottish Conservative leader “inspired” by Salvation Army
published on 29 Jun 2023
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross visited a Salvation Army support service in Edinburgh as part of his campaign to tackle drug addiction.
Mr Ross has launched a bill at the Scottish Parliament to give people struggling with addiction the right to access treatment. As part of his research for the proposed legislation, he visited The Salvation Army’s Niddry Street Wellbeing Centre that provides a range of support to people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, including addiction services.
Mr Ross met staff, volunteers and service users and said he was inspired at how the centre is helping some of the city’s most vulnerable people.
The proposed legislation would enshrine in law the right of those struggling with addiction to access their preferred method of treatment unless it would be ruled harmful by a clinician.
A total of 1,092 suspected drug deaths occurred in Scotland in 2022, with the first quarter of 2023 showing a rise of five per cent compared to the same period last year.
Mr Ross said: “My recent visit to The Salvation Army alongside local MSP Sue Webber was extremely useful and hugely inspirational.
“Everyone at the Wellbeing Centre in Edinburgh are carrying out fantastic work every single day to support those who need it most, including those who are homeless and those struggling with addiction.
“The visit was inspirational and hugely informative and I will continue to assist in any way I can to ensure The Salvation Army have all the resources they need to continue providing such wonderful services.”
Malcolm Page, The Salvation Army’s assistant director of homelessness services, said: “We were pleased to give Mr Ross an insight into our work with vulnerable people. The Salvation Army’s addiction support services have shown that helping people deal with the root causes of their addiction is the most effective path to recovery.
“Addiction is often linked to trauma, pain, loss or illness. At The Salvation Army we see the person and not the addiction. Through this approach there has been a significant reduction in the number of drug-related deaths in our services.
“The latest figures for drug-related deaths across Scotland are concerning but we must not accept them as inevitable. More investment in supportive recovery services is essential to reversing this trend.”