The closure of an Aberdeenshire drug rehabilitation clinic is to be raised at Holyrood this week amid concerns over Scotland’s rising number of drug deaths.
Conservative MSP Alexander Burnett will ask Scottish Government how it will help those needing treatment after the Alexander Clinic in Oldmeldrum was shut.
The private residential detox and rehab clinic closed its doors several months ago.
Mr Burnett said the lack of a facility in Aberdeenshire was of particular concern given the record drug deaths recorded last year and falling funding for drug and alcohol services.
This summer, it was revealed 1,187 people in Scotland suffered a drug-related death in 2018 – a 27 per cent increase year-on-year.
Scotland now has a higher rate of drug-related deaths than the USA and any other EU nation.
It has also been claimed that Alcohol and Drug Partnerships in Scotland have endured successive real-terms cuts to their funding of 6.3 per cent between 2018-19 and 2014-15.
Mr Burnett said: “Recent figures have made clear that Scotland is in the midst of a drugs death crisis.
“Unfortunately, this has followed cuts to drug and alcohol partnerships by this SNP government.
“The Alexander Clinic in Oldmeldrum was the only residential rehab facility of its kind in Aberdeenshire.”
He added: “The closure leaves a significant gap in resources locally and it is something that I will be urging Nicola Sturgeon’s government to take action to address.
“If not, we are letting down families across the north-east of Scotland who are already under enormous pressure.
“The Scottish Conservatives have set out a clear strategy for tackling the scourge of drug addiction in our communities.
“Central to that is investment in residential rehabilitation programmes, which have been proven to be successful in helping addicts and their families.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We want to ensure everyone who requires drug rehabilitation treatment has access to it which is why we have invested £800 million to tackle alcohol and drug use since 2008, with over £70 million available in this financial year to help reduce the harms caused by substance misuse.
“Our Programme for Government, announced last week, commits a further £20 million over the next two years to support local services and provide targeted support.
“It is the responsibility of Alcohol and Drug Partnerships to provide services based on local need with tailored support to those who require it, helping reduce problem substance use and its associated harms.”
Wayne Gault, lead officer of Aberdeenshire Drug and Alcohol Partnership, said Scotland faced a “national public emergency” when it came to drug deaths.
“It was a disappointment that the Alexander Clinic closed its doors for a variety of operational and commercial reasons.
“But one of the reasons was the capacity for community detox and rehabilitation in Aberdeenshire had increased over the years meaning fewer people were needing to access the residential service.
“We do need a regional or national plan of how we are going to resource residential facilities, because for a minority of complex cases the evidence suggests these are essential. But the quantity of those cases coming from Aberdeenshire isn’t sufficient to justify a specific facility for Aberdeenshire.”