Drug deaths should be preventable


Marlene Taylor reflects on statistics which showed that drug-related deaths are on the rise

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13th August 2018 by TFN Guest 0 Comments

I am the service manager at Family Addiction Support Service (FASS), which offers confidential support to adult family members who are or have been affected by a loved one’s drug or alcohol problems. It is a grassroots organization that was started in 1986 by parents and family members concerned about the growing drug problem in Glasgow. Today it is unique in that it offers kinship, family and bereavement support as well as access to over 20 peer support groups across Glasgow.

FASS is so much more than a job to me as I know from my own family’s experience and heartbreak the very real difference an organisation like FASS can and does make to people’s lives, to their resilience. The recovery communities and support groups we are involved with are very much part of that vital support network and do sterling work.

Marlene Taylor

Marlene Taylor

It is harrowing to hear that the drug related death statistics released  last month show an all-time high of 934 drug-related deaths registered in Scotland in 2017, 66 (8%) more than in 2016. This was the largest number ever recorded, and 479 (105%) higher than the figure for 2007, which was 455.

Thirty percent of these deaths were within Glasgow & Clyde and taking into account the families of each of those 280 people, the actual figure of those affected by those deaths is much higher.

As someone who lost their young brother fairly recently, I am only too well aware of the devastating impact losing someone in this way has on families. It changes lives forever.

Each of those 934 souls lost would no doubt have had family, friends, people who loved and cherished them who are now left devastated. The children left without a parent, the mother left without their child - the ripple effect on families and communities is huge.

In this day and age these deaths should be preventable, and are not inevitable. It is my opinion and those of my peers that these increasing figures are the shame of the UK with urgent resources needed to tackle areas such as mental health and the devastating impact welfare reforms are having on individuals.

Marlene Taylor is service manager of Family Addiction Support Service (FASS). The charity can be contacted by visiting the FASS website or ringing 0141 420 2050,