DRUGS recovery organisations are calling on the Scottish Government to provide more funding for rehab beds ahead of new figures for drugs-related deaths being published tomorrow.

The delayed figures for 2019 will be released tomorrow after drugs-related deaths in Scotland accounted of the death of 1,187 people in 2018.

The Scottish Conservatives have pointed to a £20 million Scottish recovery fund which the party claims is needed to replace historic cuts to rehabilitation programmes and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The plans have been backed by rehab and recovery groups.

READ MORE: Drug death rate in Scotland at record high

CEO of Phoenix Futures, Karen Biggs, said: “We know many people across Scotland would benefit from residential treatment but aren’t able to access it.

“Residential treatment is one of a range of treatments that should be available to people when they need it regardless of where they live.

“Greater investment and quicker action is needed if we are to stop people from dying of a condition we know how to treat.”

Favor Scotland CEO, Annemarie Ward, added: “I’m concerned that we’ll hear more heartbreaking news about the number of drug deaths in Scotland this week and, again, most of the press and government’s attention will fixate on a drug consumption room as the only solution to save lives.

“Bluntly, the obsession with drug consumption rooms (DCRs) is making it inevitable that more people in Scotland will die from addiction.

“DCRs are the same silver bullet trope I’ve heard for 30 years. Favor Scotland’s report last year called for them to be introduced alongside rehab and recovery services that help people get off drugs and lead happy and free lives again. We should be investing in services that help people get well, not only for them to use drugs safely.”

She added: “We gave health minister Joe Fitzpatrick a report last year with 23 recommendations, all written by people who have lost loved ones and overseen by academic experts. Those voices and our recommendations have been largely ignored.

“The ‘You Keep Talking, We Keep Dying’ campaign is now begging politicians to stop the blame game and provide a ring-fenced Scottish Recovery Fund to increase residential rehabilitation bed numbers and improve treatment services.”

Jericho House manager Michael Trail said there has been “some positive developments” around the provision of residential rehab services.

He added: “We are seeing more collaboration between rehabilitation providers, welcome moves on funded test of change initiatives involving people who have non-fatal overdoses, and there has been a small amount of funding to develop a prison to rehabilitation protocol.

"However, far more resources are still needed to increase the number of rehabilitation beds and save lives. Jericho House currently receives no funding to support our 18 male and 10 female beds. It's an unsustainable position and needs to change if we are to continue helping people get well.

"In the face of so many deaths, we should be aiming to expand residential rehabilitation provision but as it stands, we're struggling to retain what we have just now."

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “I spoke to experts in drug recovery at a Roundtable Scotland event and while we don’t agree on every single proposal, I’m convinced by the need for a rapid expansion of rehab beds and recovery services across Scotland.

“Thousands of people are tragically dying each and every year. The loss those families feel is made even worse by the fact that the deaths are avoidable.

“The Scottish Government is in full control of health in Scotland and there is broad consensus among recovery experts that increasing rehab beds will save lives. Where there is agreement, we must work together to address this crisis.

“The Scottish Conservatives will push for the proposed Scottish Recovery Fund in the Scottish Budget this year and if the government does not agree to it, we will include it in our manifesto.”

The Liberal Democrats have also called for more action from the Scottish Government.

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson, Alex Cole-Hamilton, has warned that “another year has slipped by without discernible progress and thousands of people are still at serious risk”.

He added: “On the eve of what will likely be a fresh set of horrifying statistics on Scotland’s drug deaths we are calling on the government to take quick steps to address this emergency.

“Scotland cannot tolerate more tragedies because neither the Scottish nor the UK Government will act on a scale that matches the evidence in front of them. Our drug death rate puts our country to shame. The last statistics showed they are by far the worst in Europe and four times worse than England and Wales.

"Drug experts are clear that the Scottish Government has a range of powers that it could use to tackle this crisis now.

“Scotland needs to turn a corner. A combination of pre-emptive measures and compassionate treatment could make that happen. We can't afford to be stuck in the same position in another year begging the Scottish Government to show some real ambition.”

A Scottish Government Spokesperson said: “We have committed to invest over £1 million directly in national residential rehab programmes.

"The Residential Rehabilitation Working Group has made recommendations on access to residential treatment, capacity planning and developing pathways, which is the beginning of a significant piece of work in our long term efforts to reduce the harms caused by alcohol and drug use.“