Drug and substance abuse is a long-standing issue in Scotland and we are currently facing a record high in drug-related deaths since 1996.

The demographics of drug use are staggering: most users start at the age of 15, the vast majority are men (70 per cent) who live in deprived areas, a substantial percentage is concentrated in and around Glasgow. The drug-related death toll is rising at an alarming rate – a 27 per cent increase in the space of a year (20182019). In short, this is an issue that we cannot, and should not, overlook.

In 2019, the Scottish Government launched a specific Drugs Taskforce to research the causes of drug deaths, to promote action to improve health outcomes and to monitor the Scottish Government’s progress on its campaign Rights, Respect and Recovery’, which outlines the alcohol and drugs strategy for care and rehabilitation. 

In light of this, on Wednesday, 26 February a summit will be held in Glasgow to discuss the future outworkings of drug policies, protection and planning. The principal aim of this summit is to improve the current drug policies to provide a more beneficial system of protection, care, rehabilitation and safe using spaces’ throughout some of the major drug hubs across the nation, in the hope that this will help control both the rising death toll as well as the criminal network which surrounds the drug market. 

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We, as the church, are the eyes, ears, hands and feet of Jesus and are called to (pro)actively love those who are suffering and vulnerable. Taking into consideration next week’s drug summit, consider those in your churches, social circles or work colleagues who have been challenged by substance abuse issues in the past or are currently going through a rough season. 

Be encouraged that the Government has recognised this issue and sees these rising figures as people, not just numbers. God’s word, tells us to pray prayers of thanksgiving and intercession on the behalf of others (1 Timothy 2:1 – 2), and that we are to pray for our governments, politicians and those in positions of power (Romans 13:1, Jeremiah 29:7). We are called to be courageous and bold in the strength of God, but equally to share our faith with grace, gentleness and kindness (1 Peter 3:15, Titus 3:12). James 4:2 challenges us by saying that we do not have because we do not ask.

We encourage you, therefore, to pray with dedication and in hopeful expectation for our nation and those who are in positions of influence, for the sake of the vulnerable in our society. Continuous and consistent prayer produces fruit, as we see in James 5:16 – 18. Let us take encouragement that the Lord hears and answers prayer about the big and the small things.

Please pray for:

  • The drug summit on Wednesday, 26 February.
  • All those in attendance and for fruitful conversations that aim to protect and take care of those who are in need across the country.
  • Those who are currently suffering addiction or substance abuse issues and the organisations and groups that are already in place and helping those affected.
  • The urban centres in Dundee and Glasgow, as these are the most affected areas by drug deaths in Scotland.

And as we do pray, let us be encouraged that God is at work and that He is able to do great things.

Photo by Lewis Roberts