Eradicating heroin will be key to regenerating Levenmouth, a local councillor has claimed.
Andrew Rodger said it was a “crying shame” that 61 children across Fife had been left without a parent in the last year as a result of drug use.
And he called for help for addicts to be made a priority in Levenmouth, where the issue is particularly prevalent.
Mr Rodger spoke out after councillors were told huge swathes of the area were in danger of becoming more marginalised as welfare reforms continue to bite.
Fife Council’s local area manager Dave Paterson said the community was already under severe pressure as a result of low employment, a reduction in the working age population and a considerable increase in the number of elderly people.
He added more work would be needed to analyse how services in Levenmouth should be shaped over the coming years the mitigate the situation.
Mr Rodger said the local authority should focus on the fact there had been 265 drugs deaths in Fife in 10 years.
“This year alone we’ve had 31 drugs deaths while 12 people were killed on the roads in Fife in the last year,” he said.
“Can you imagine what would have been said if road deaths had jumped up to 31? Out of that, 61 children were left without a parent and 37 of those were under 16.”
The Buckhaven, Methil and Wemyss councillor said more must be done to tackle the problem.
“We need to see drug addiction as an illness and give people help in any way we can,” he said.
Calling for more intervention and support, he added: “We need to engage all the different agencies – police, health and the voluntary sector.”
Mr Paterson said heroin use had been an issue in Levenmouth for decades.
“There are two fronts we need to fight on – the clinical front which the health service is doing and the wrap-around to make sure people are able to contribute to the community despite their drug use,” he said.
Mr Paterson said the three top priorities for Levenmouth were access to employment, education and training; health, wellbeing and the environment; and investment and regeneration.
“There has also been considerable focus in relation to family support work, especially the needs of lone parents,” he said.