Nearly one in 50 people living in Dundee are “problematic drug users”, according to a shocking new report to be put before councillors.
Local authority members will be briefed on the scale of the city’s drug problem before a discussion on improving adult and child support services on Monday.
According to the report, 2,800 “problematic” users are currently residing in the city as it struggles to deal with “high prevalence rates of domestic abuse, drug and alcohol
use, drugs deaths and mental health issues”.
It also details the toll on people living with addiction problems, with official records showing 143 women had children removed from their care last year while suffering from issues such as drug use, incarceration and domestic abuse.
A leading Dundee women’s charity said on Tuesday more than half the women it had worked with who were involved in prostitution also had problematic drugs issues. Many had been subjected to horrific levels of violence.
Sharon Brand, from Recovery Dundee, said the findings of the report were “shocking” but predicted the real scale of the problem could be even worse.
She said: “I would imagine the numbers are based around the number of people who are going for treatment but I know from experience that there is a huge number who will never seek help because they don’t trust the social work system.
“Yes, the 2,800 figure seems high and shocking but I would worry even that is probably not a true reflection of the problems the city is facing.
“I know from the people we support in the community that there is a real fear around turning for help. People are scared that they might lose access to their children and that stops them getting the help they desperately need.”
A city-wide Drugs Commission set up to combat the high number of drugs deaths in Dundee will meet for the third time on August 22.
Andy Perkins, director of Figure 8 consultancy, the firm contracted to carry out the commission, said there was a strong consensus that drug misuse is a “very significant issue” in the city.
He said: “We hope the commission will be able to play a significant role in tackling the problems and already, we gave identified some major themes.
“I wouldn’t say fears over accessing services is something we’ve heard as a recurring problem but it is a known factor across the UK. I think the answer is to have really joined up partnership working.
“People may be less fearful to get involved with third sector or community working groups and I think that’s something that can be really helpful.”