Minister Joe Fitzpatrick and Jackie Baillie MSP.

By Democrat reporter

Dumbarton and Lomond  constituency MSP, Jackie Baillie, has praised community-based drug project, Alternatives WD, for the work they do with those affected by drugs following the release of new figures which show that drug-related deaths in West Dunbartonshire are rising at a faster rate than the national average.

The figures, which were included in West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership’s performance report shows that there were 20 drug-related deaths of West Dunbartonshire residents in 2018, a 33% increase on 2017. This was 5% higher than the national increase of 27%.

Alternatives West Dunbartonshire offer a three stage development programme to support people who wish to address their substance abuse as part of their journey of recovery. The programme consists of 1-2-1 counselling, group work and education, as well as activities/events and family support groups.

The Minister for Public Health, Sport and Well-being has agreed to visit the project in November.

Jackie Baillie said: “It is disappointing to learn that the number of drug-related deaths is increasing at a faster rate in West Dunbartonshire than across the country.

“Alternatives provide an incredible range of services for people who are currently or have previously been affected by drugs. These services are invaluable for people in our local community. They do a great job and achieve good results.

“I welcome the Minister for Public Health’s intention to visit the service in November, to learn about what works in tackling addiction in West Dunbartonshire and across Scotland.”

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