FAMILIES who have been affected by drug deaths should have a champion to voice their trauma in high-level policy discussions, a Springburn minister has said.

Brian Casey, plans to hold an event when restrictions are eased further to commemorate those who have lost their lives to addiction and called for the creation of a position which would advocate for those affected by drugs, addiction and death. 

He said: “In the past year, there were people I knew as being in recovery coming in as funerals. 

“Lockdown has been very hard on people in recovery.”

The campaigning minister had discussions with former drugs minister Joe FitzPatrick on giving a voice to families affected by drugs, before his sacking last year over Scotland’s exceptionally high rate of deaths.

Casey said: “I’ve not been able to speak with Angela Constance about this since she replaced Mr Fitzpatrick.”

Families who have lost loved ones through addictions, or had their relationships ruined by drugs have a pain “that is not being voiced” added Casey. 

“We need healing, clarity and advocacy and we need a voice for families.”

Casey has long been known for his advocacy in the North Glasgow parish, once planting crosses in the church’s garden in memory of those lost to drugs. 

He thinks the Church of Scotland could be well placed to voice the concerns of those affected, given its experience in dealing with such matters.

Scotland was revealed last year to have the worst drug deaths in Europe and heads rolled over the scandal.

This led to Nicola Sturgeon pledging to get a grip on the crisis. 

Angela Constance, the Drugs Minister, was unavailable to comment in the pre-election period but a Scottish Government spokeswoman referred the Glasgow Times to the recent announcement funding would be allocated to services which would "reduce harm, provide treatment and ultimately save their lives". 

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