South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth has criticised real terms cuts to Dumfries and Galloway’s Alcohol and Drug Partnership.

It comes as the Scottish Government announced that for 2019/20 Dumfries and Galloway Alcohol and Drugs Partnership will receive £1,501,802 in funding. The same level of funding as the previous year.

The funding means that since 2014/15 Dumfries and Galloway’s Alcohol and Drug Partnership by 31% in real terms.

The announcement on funding allocations for individual Alcohol and Drug Partnerships comes two weeks after figures from the National Records of Scotland show that average drug related deaths in Dumfries and Galloway have risen by 113% over the last decade.

Colin Smyth said, “With the tragic news that more people are dying as a result of drugs, the need to provide proper support for those suffering with addiction has never been more important. It is unbelievable that in the middle of a drug and alcohol crisis, core funding to vital support ­networks has been cut. You cannot reduce the core funding for Dumfries and Galloway Alcohol and Drug Partnerships funding by a third over the past five years and not limit the lifesaving work they can do. The Government needs to ­invest in core ADP funding, not slash support to those who badly need help.

While some additional Government funding can be secured through a bidding process, the overall cut to core funding reduces ADPs ability to support those suffering from addiction in Dumfries and Galloway. The loss of a single life through drugs is one too many, but the loss of 20 per year in our region is an absolute tragedy. Ending this appalling waste of lives will be a complex issue and require everyone to work together to find a range of solutions. But there is no doubt that properly funding the work of Alcohol and Drug Partnerships is part of that solution, that’s why I would like to see funding increased.”

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