Politicians have been told to stop playing games with people’s lives and back serious efforts to get people into recovery to reduce drug deaths.

At Springburn Parish Church, families and campaigners united to plant wooden crosses to mark the lives lost to drugs.

Annemarie Ward, chief executive of Faces and Voices of Recovery, said: “These 200 crosses represent another 200 people who have died. They are people not numbers.”

Politicians attended the event, Bob Doris, Maryhill and Springburn SNP MSP, Monica Lennon, Scottish Labour health spokeswoman and SNP councillor, Graham Campbell joined those planting crosses.

Ms Ward appealed directly to the politicians present.

She added: “In the light of the drug summits We ask you to stop playing political football with people’s lives.

“We are asking for help We need treatment to get well there is more than one path to recovery and we need more rehab beds.”

Rev Brian Casey, minister of Springburn Parish Church said the 200 people that these crosses represent are mothers, fathers, sons, daughter, brothers and sisters.”

The last official figures for 2018 showed that there were 280 drug related deaths in Glasgow and 1187 across Scotland. Early indications show that the number for last year is likely to increase significantly once again.

Glasgow Times:

However there are doubts about the release of the statistics, due in July because of delays in toxicology results.

Many of those present at the Springburn memorial have direct experience of losing someone to drugs.

Donny Balloch, who spent more than 20 years working told of two people he knew who have died in the last week from drugs.

He said: “I had a friend who died yesterday he was in his thirties.

“A neighbour of mine in his fifties was found dead in his bed last week.

These 200 are since the last time we planted 800 crosses in December. It’s 100 a month.

“The real figure is probably higher because the official figures are for overdoses.

“It doesn’t take into account the people who have died of other causes but drugs is the underlying cause.

“There are also suicides, people who can’t live with or without drugs.”

He said he was not hopeful that the drug summits taking place later this month will make a difference.

He added: “The Drug Death task Force has been up and running for almost a year now and what have they done. Recommended more Naloxone, which is good but it’s not enough.”

The UK Government is hosting a drugs deaths summit in Glasgow on February 28