A total of £3 million has been given to NHS boards to increase provision of residential drug rehabilitation placements and improve access to treatment and harm reduction services.

The funding is part of the £5 million support package announced by the First Minister last month to ensure immediate action on improving drugs services before the end of this financial year.

North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership has been allocated £96,294 of the £3 million funding tranche.

Integration Authorities have been allocated funding based on the number of drug deaths in each area to spend through Alcohol and Drugs Partnerships. The money will be distributed as follows:

  • 65% on increasing residential rehabilitation and aftercare
  • 20% on improving access to harm reduction services such as naloxone, heroin-assisted treatment and opiate substitute therapy
  • 15% on improving access to treatment

SNP MSP Ruth Maguire has welcomed this development, saying: “We know that urgent action is required to tackle the drugs deaths emergency facing Scotland. This must be approached in a human rights centred manner which meets people where they are.

“It is therefore highly encouraging that the initial funding tranche will go to Alcohol and Drug Partnerships in order to ensure that local needs are identified and appropriate treatment is made available for those who need it, when they need it.”

Minister for Drugs Policy Angela Constance said: “We all know action is needed now to tackle the drugs death emergency Scotland faces.

“The Scottish Government has been clear we must improve treatment and other support services and must do so within the context of a rights-based approach involving those with lived and living experience, their families and their communities. Reducing stigma is also key to getting more people into treatment.

“We intend to improve pathways into residential rehabilitation and increase provision. This additional investment will allow that work to get underway and the additional £50 million announced the First Minister over the next five years could lead to an increase of almost 50% in the number of placements available.

“I will shortly be further making a further announcement about additional support for grassroots and third sector organisations to enable them to increase capacity and extend their services further into the community.

“Last year, 1,264 lives were lost and my heart goes out to all those who have lost a loved one. We cannot change the past but I am determined to change the future. A national mission is needed – those whose life is blighted by drugs are our relatives, our friends, our neighbours. Our vision is for a culture of change: a culture of compassion devoid of stigma in which people are given a real chance of recovery.”

A link to the letter and table of funding allocation is available on the Scottish Government website.