There have been 1,187 drug deaths in Scotland in 2018 - this is an increase of 27 per cent from 2017 and the highest drug death rate in the world.

A total of 294 of those deaths were in Glasgow, which is a 33 per cent increase, the highest for any region of Scotland. The human cost of this is too much. Drug use and deaths affect just about every family in Scotland and this is worse in areas of multiple deprivation. This is a disease of despair and a national health crisis.

Our community lost an absolute gem of a guy recently. I won’t name him here but this guy gave all of himself to volunteering in the recovery community.

He was a guy who would do anything for anyone and he will be very greatly missed. He was always dancing whenever he heard music. He just couldn’t help himself. He came up against a hurdle in his personal life which devastated him and turned back to the way he used to cope. He blocked it out by using heroin again and died.

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The even sadder thing was that people who knew and loved him were upset but also numbed as this is a situation that happens too often.

The war on drugs is not working. We need to do things differently in Scotland. I implore the new Home Secretary, Priti Patel MP, to come to Glasgow and see why we need a safe consumption room and a very different approach to this health crisis.

In other countries there has been a different approach taken and the number of drug users and drug deaths has plummeted as has the spread of blood borne diseases.

The language around users has been changed and that has made a huge difference too. If you are described as not being worth anything for so long then you start to believe that you are not worth anything and therefore what is the point in trying to be something?

I would urge everyone to be kinder to everyone else as you don’t know what they are struggling with and no one’s lives are perfect and stress free. Please think about treating others how YOU would like to be treated.