Responding to the ONS data on drug related deaths today, Annemarie Ward, CEO at FAVOUR UK, said:

“Across the UK Alcohol & other drug related deaths is at epidemic proportions & A public health emergency should be declared and be responded to as such.

“COVID-19 has clearly shown us when we want to save life’s we can. Last year in Scotland in the under 65 age group we had over twice the amount of people die from drug deaths that covid.

“Alcohol & other Drug dependency is most often a result of poverty & trauma. We welcome Dame Carol Black’s recommendations that addiction is treated as a health problem rather than a crime. Emphasis on the social determinants of health such as stable housing and employment are crucial but would add that recommendations have been continually ignored across the UK.  Unless we enshrine people’s rights to access treatment that helps them get well (in the law) we will continue to watch our bodies mount up. The right to recovery bill in Scotland could be easily instated into the rest of the UK if there was the political will for it. The problem is it’s the people in our poorest communities who are dying in the greatest numbers are not a constituency of consequence to the politicians because they are unlikely to vote.

“The cuts to public services & austerity policies are undoubtedly connected to the catastrophic rise in all addiction related deaths & cannot be seen in isolation. We need to make sure that the treatment people are requesting for themselves & their loved ones is actually available & our Right to recovery Bill put forward by the Scottish conservatives would enshrine in law that we all have access & choice of services not just the wealthy.  

“Not every death is preventable, but we all deserve, rich or poor to have access & choices of services that have been evidenced to help us not just stay alive but to also get well & thrive again. If it was middle classes dying in their thousands, this bill would meet zero resistance! & End #Stigma towards our traumatised citizens.

Our friends’ families & communities have suffered enough & until we change the law this carnage will continue.

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1 – Annemarie Ward and other members of the recovery community are available for interview, as well as a range of case studies. Please contact Sam Marriot, 07979 638437 or Annemarie Ward on 07727255808

FAVOR UK is a registered charity w