In East Ayrshire we believe in doing things differently and showing compassion and kindness to people within our communities. Yet, right now we have tragically, seen an increase in drug and alcohol related deaths, and suicides across East Ayrshire. They are not just numbers, they are family members, friends and neighbours. We heard heartbreaking stories of families living in extreme poverty and the impact of bereavement on families. We want to make sure that people know we care and want to protect people from harm. In our community we believe that everyone should have a dignified life.
Recovery Enterprises Scotland and Someone Else’s Addiction hosted a community engagement event on 16th August 2019 to demonstrate each of those lives matter. We heard from 110 stakeholders that attended, including elected members, strategic leads, local and national service providers. We heard about the injustice families faced, and from individuals in recovery and people with a particular interest in recovery.
It is not right that we have seen an increase in drug related deaths from 24 people in 2017 to 29 people in 2018; and alcohol related deaths increased from 21 people to 30 people; and suicides increased from 12 people to 26 people during the same period. The estimated prevalence of problematic drug use within East Ayrshire is 1800, this means that our services and supports are not always meeting the needs of people within our community.