The Taskforce was established by the SNP Government in July 2019 to provide expert advice on the emergency response to rising drug-related deaths in Scotland.
Many of the recommendations proposed in previous reports have already been implemented including measures to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and the expansion of the police naloxone pilot.
Following the creation of the Drug Deaths Taskforce (DDTF), the First Minister announced in her 2019 Programme for Government that there would be additional funding made available to the group to “support innovative projects, test new approaches and drive forward specific work to improve the quality of services”. This commitment meant that the DDTF had £9 million to invest in 2020/21 and £5 million in 2021/22.
The North Ayrshire Alcohol and Drug Partnership received £83,276 funding for Naloxone kits for distribution from non-treatment services; to the Ayrshire wide non-fatal overdose pathway; a panel review-Pilot of depot buprenorphine; support for people leaving hospital or prison and experiencing homelessness; and peer supply of naloxone.
Drugs Policy Minister Angela Constance MSP said:
“I welcome this final report from the Drug Deaths Taskforce and I want to thank the Chair David Strang, Vice-Chair Fiona McQueen and every single member for their considerable commitment to producing these recommendations all of which we will consider in detail and respond to in due course.
“We have announced £1.1m of new investment into public health surveillance projects to improve our real-time understanding of harms so we can improve our response. A target has been set to increase the number of people in protective treatment for problematic drug use and we are working closely with Integration Authorities on accountability and transparency - recently approving a new governance framework with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities which will improve the effectiveness of Alcohol and Drug Partnerships in advance of more ambitious reforms under the new National Care Service.
“With the backing of an additional £250 million over the course of this parliament, we are now focussed on delivery and change on the ground, to provide meaningful improvement in people’s lives. This will be overseen by the National Drugs Mission Oversight Group which will support the national mission to reduce drug-related deaths and improve lives by providing scrutiny, challenge and advice to the SNP Government and the wider sector.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“Fragmentation of service delivery is in no one’s interest, and particularly so for a group as vulnerable as people who are struggling with drug dependency.
“The SNP Government will continue to focus on ensuring that all services treat people who use drugs with the same respect and compassion as would be expected for any other health condition.”
The report can be read here: Final Report | Drug Deaths Taskforce .