Drug action group: ‘furious’ response if governments play politics

Favor Scotland have warned the Scottish and UK governments to expect a “furious” response from the families of drug death victims if they play political football at the drug summits in Glasgow this week.

As part of their campaign, ‘You Keep Talking, We Keep Dying’, Favor Scotland will be participants at the Scottish Government summit on Wednesday and protesters at the UK Government summit on Thursday.

The group have said these summits must result in serious action that starts to save lives and politicians must leave their slogans at the door.

Favor’s report, published in November 2019, called for the Scottish Government to take forward 23 recommendations including:

·        A 35 per cent funding increase to drug recovery budgets

·        £15.4 million for residential rehabilitation beds

·         A public health emergency to be declared with a co-ordinated response from the third sector, councils, police and health boards.

·         The creation of a lived experience panel to direct the current task force and inform the Scottish Government in their actions.

·         The Scottish Government to introduce a Recovery Minister or Recovery Champion to immediately focus full-time on tackling the drug deaths crisis.

Annemarie Ward, CEO of Favor UK, said: “The families of drug death victims expect to see tangible and serious action out of these summits.

“There will be a furious response if two sets of governments turn up to play political football. They must leave their meaningless slogans and attacks at the door.

“The Scottish Government think they can solve this problem by shouting about the Tories and Westminster. They are not serious about saving lives.

“There is a direct link between the number of residential rehabilitation beds falling and the number of drug deaths rising. The Scottish Government are ignoring this because it suits them to blame Westminster.

“Meanwhile, the UK Government childishly refuse to work with the Scottish Government on basic things like organising the summit in the first place.

“We are disgusted that the drug deaths crisis is still being used as political football between Westminster and Holyrood.

“This isn’t a game. People’s lives are at stake. We need to see action, not a talking shop that makes politicians feel better about themselves.”


FAVOR Scotland’s report on drug deaths, published in November 2019, is available here: http://www.facesandvoicesofrecoveryuk.org/working-together-challenge-stigma-save-lifes/