SCOTLAND needs to change how it thinks about addiction to drugs and recovery if it is to solve the rising drugs death problem.

That’s the view of a forensic psychologist who was a key member of the team who helped Glasgow tackle territorial gang violence that was out of control in parts of the city.

Karyn McCluskey, now works Community Justice Scotland but she said there were strong similarities with the drug death emergency and deaths from violence.

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Ms McCluskey was speaking at a Faces and Voices of Recovery event following a debate in the Scottish Parliament where a call for £5m extra on rehab services was rejected.

Ms McCluskey, who is chief executive of Community Justice Scotland, said bold, radical action, similar to whet she and former police officer, John Carnochan, did with the Violence Reduction Unit.

Glasgow Times:

As the Scottish Parliament held a debate on the subject and the Scottish Government set up a Drugs death taskforce and summits are planned for Glasgow this year, she said change needs to happen.

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She said: “Creating a movement, which is what we did, which is what you’re doing, it becomes overwhelming eventually.

“It was homicide, you’re talking about murder so you made it onto the front pages of the newspapers. Underneath, it is exactly the same things that you’re looking at.”

She said real change will only come from those most affected.

Ms McCluskey said: “People are overwhelmed. We need to do something radical. Scotland is not big, around five million people. We need to be bold. Not just a wee bit more of the same thing.”

She said how we think about drugs and addiction has to be transformed from accepting it as a fact of life in Scotland.

Ms McCluskey added: “We must change the cultural norm that we think that’s just us. The film Trainspotting didn’t do us any favours.

“She said change won’t happen from the top down. It will be from the bottom up from mums and dads, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters.”

Annie Wells, Glasgow Conservative MSP attended the event as did Glasgow Central SNP MP Alison Thewliss.

Annmarie Ward, Chief executive of Favor, criticised the spending on rehab compared to methadone.

Glasgow Times:

She said: “Half a million pounds is spent on rehab. The rest of the £47 m budget is spent on methadone. Half a million of helping people get of drugs and the rest on keeping people medicated.”

She refuted a claim that there was no demand for rehab.”