Police in Glasgow launch strategy to tackle drugs deaths
Police in Glasgow have launched a drugs strategy aimed at reducing the high number of drug-related deaths in the city and surrounding area.
The strategy follows the Scottish Government approach of treating drug addiction as a public health issue and emphasises how police can understand the issues facing vulnerable people with addiction and direct them to appropriate services.
The NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde area has the highest average number of drug-related deaths and Glasgow City Council has the second highest average among local authority areas.
Actions in the 12-month delivery plan include raising awareness of referral options available to officers who come into contact with drug addicts and internal training and briefings to improve understanding of people living with addiction.
Further proposals to be considered include improving referrals within custody, increasing work with people who have lived experience of drug addiction and training for campus officers who work in secondary schools.
Strategy lead superintendent Gary I’Anson said: “The strategy is about improving our understanding of drug addiction and how we can play our part in the wider public health approach to tackling drug-related deaths.
“Police officers are often the first responders to incidents so our approach and understanding of drug deaths and drug crime can be crucial.
“We already feed into other multi-agency groups, such as alcohol and drug partnerships, but this strategy gives us an opportunity to directly influence local policing actions while combining the views of partners."
Police have been working with a strategy group that includes representatives from Glasgow City Council’s Health and Social Care Partnership, British Transport Police, Positive Outcomes project, Police Scotland’s Safer Communities division and local area commanders.
They have also learned from other police work on tackling drug-related deaths such as Operation Fundamental in Dundee and Operation Threshold in Edinburgh.
Superintendent I’Anson added: “One agency alone will not reduce drug related deaths and it is not solely Police Scotland’s responsibility to do this.
“However, we must maximise what we can do, help change attitudes and try different options.
“There is no quick solution to reducing drug related deaths.
“We look forward to implementing and reviewing this strategy over the next 12 months not only to help those with addiction, but to improve our communities.”