Scotland's drugs minister Elena Whitham has spoken of the fear she felt for a family member who used substances. 

The SNP MSP said it had been a "hard-fought battle" to get their loved one into recovery and that there were times when she worried that something bad would happen. 

READ MORE: 'Tide is turning' on Scotland's drug death crisis says minister

The minister was speaking during a visit to the Back on the Road project in Glasgow, which helps people in recovery from alcohol and substance misuse issues gain volunteer experience in the restoration of vintage vehicles.

Ms Whitham has been in post since March when she was promoted to government by Humza Yousaf.

She had previously worked for Women's Aid and in community support roles in Ayrshire.

Her comments come as new data from the National Records of Scotland revealed that there 1,051 deaths due to drug misuse in 2022 – down 279 on the previous year, a drop of 21%.

It is the second year in a row that the total number of drug fatalities has fallen.

Scotland’s death rate is still 2.7 times as high as the UK average in 2021.

Ms Whitham said there would be few families in the country who did not have experience of addiction. 

“As a family member, having experience of family members using substances and also in recovery, I understand the fear that people have every single day that something is going to happen to their loved one," she said.

READ MORE: Scotland drug deaths: Fatal overdose deaths fall in 2022

“I want to reach out to all of those families today and those communities where people have been lost, to let them know that I am committed to making sure that we continue to deliver on this, and we’re committed to getting people into the treatment that works best for them.”

She added: “I have a family member who has been in recovery for some time but that was a real hard-fought battle to get to that place.

“Having the opportunity to work in this policy area, to me, is hugely important and it’s something that I will continue to work my hardest and reach out across all the different actors involved to make sure that we can get around the table and deliver for people in Scotland.”

"You fear that something's going to happen to your loved one if they're not in protective treatment," she added.

"And even if they're in protective treatment, but they're not perhaps having a choice of treatment that's going to work best for them.

"You don't have to scratch far beneath the surface for many people in Scotland to actually find that they have a family member or a neighbour or somebody that's been touched by substance use.

"So that fear is very real for families."