Addicts 'on road to recovery'
SCOTLAND's national drugs strategy is helping to make a positive impact for addicts, accoding to government figures.
Community safety minister Fergus Ewing yesterday outlined progress made over the two years since Holyrood passed the Road to Recovery programme.
He told the Scottish Parliament: "When the strategy was launched we knew that too many people were waiting too long to receive the help they needed.
"Last year we set a challenging target so that by 2013, some 90 per cent of those who needed treatment would get it within three weeks.
"Since then we have already seen a significant improvement in waiting times.
"We are well on our way to achieving our target, with more people getting access to treatment, care and recovery support that is right for them."
Mr Ewing's update to MSPs included a national programme for Naloxone, an opiate antidote which temporarily reverses the effects of overdose.
He said: "It isn't the solution to drug deaths but it can buy those 20 to 30 crucial minutes that can make the difference between help arriving and death.
"Over the past two years I've been persuaded that a national approach to Naloxone is needed in Scotland."
His comments came a month after official figures revealed the number of drug-related deaths fell for the first time in four years.
Deaths dropped to 545 in 2009 from 574 the previous year, a decrease of 5 per cent. But the total is still the second highest recorded and experts warned of a steady rise in the long term.
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