Drugs Commission Review to get under way

Drugs Commission Review to get under way Image

A review of progress made in response to the findings of the Dundee Drugs Commission will get under way this week. 

The Dundee Partnership today welcomed the review, which will be carried out by the Commission to look at changes in the city following the publication of its Responding to Drug Use with Kindness, Compassion and Hope report.

Commissioners, chaired by Dr Robert Peat, will hear over the coming months from key agencies in the city as well as service providers and people who are affected by drug use and the impact of drug-related deaths.

Dr Peat said: “Our primary aim is to determine the extent to which the recommendations and actions highlighted in our report have been implemented by the Partnership. 

“We are aware of some of the work which has been taking place through discussion with the chief executives of Dundee City Council and NHS Tayside and the Chief Officer of the Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership, and we are looking forward to hearing from other partners about the changes taking place in the city. 

“Our aim is to speak with people affected by drug use and the impact of drug-related deaths, including family members, and to discuss with service providers the extent of the changes in the city since the publication of our report.” 

The review had initially been planned to take place a year on from the publication of the 2019 report, but was rescheduled due to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

It will look at a range of areas including systems, processes and cultures, in line with the recommendations in the report. 

A series of information-gathering meetings will be held between now and December. Although these will be held in private, the Commission’s findings will be made public at the end of the process. 

The sessions will hear from people using services, those with lived and living experience, family members, service providers, those working in services, leaders in the Partnership and members of the community who wish to comment on the situation. 

Dundee City Council leader and chair of the Dundee Partnership, Councillor John Alexander, said: “All the Dundee partners are absolutely clear in their commitment that the commission’s findings represented a turning point for our city. 

“Drugs are a scourge, ripping families and communities apart. 

“Although the pandemic has delayed the review itself, recommendations from the commission are being put into action and are making an impact. 

“However, this is a long-term journey and we cannot cut corners when it comes to putting in place changes to save lives. There are no easy solutions. 

“We welcome the further support of the Commissioners on that journey. Their insights on the progress made so far will be invaluable as we continue to make progress in turning the situation around and saving lives.” 

The Dundee Partnership is made up of representatives from key local public agencies, academic institutions and representatives of the business, voluntary and community sectors. 

It pools the strengths of all partners to deliver a vision for the city which improves people’s lives. Among its key priorities is tackling the root causes of social and economic exclusion, creating a community which is healthy, safe, confident, educated and empowered. 

In December 2019, the Partnership agreed an Action Plan which includes a number of short and longer-term measures aimed at reducing the toll that drugs take on communities. 

It was produced in response to the report by the Dundee Drugs Commission, which was tasked by the Dundee Partnership with considering what more could be done to reduce the rate of drug deaths in Dundee.

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