Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Perth for the Recovery Walk Scotland, with roses placed into the River Tay to remember Scots lost to drugs.
Over 2,000 people attended the walk, which started at 11am in Perth with roses placed into the River Tay in memory of all those who have died due to drugs in Scotland.
The national day of remembrance and celebration also heard from the Scottish Government’s drug minister Angela Constance, who told the crowd that recovery was possible for every individual.
The annual walk was postponed in 2020 due to coronavirus, but organisers at the Scottish Recovery Consortium and Perth and Kinross Alcohol and Drug Partnership were keen to ensure it came back bigger than ever this year.
Following the roses in the Tay ceremony at North Inch and the walk through Perth city centre, organisers also hosted a Recovery Village and Festival where those taking part heard from speakers.
Iain MacFarlane, CEO Blue Triangle, welcomed those who attended the Recovery Walk, which included thousands of people from all over Scotland.
Speaking about the event, Angela Constance said: “It is a pleasure to take part in this year’s Recovery Walk and have the opportunity to thank all those who have been working so hard to support people in recovery during the pandemic.
“Of course it is also an event at which we remember all those who have died and I want to send my sincere condolences to all those who have been affected by the loss of a loved one.”
Ms Constance said the government was “working hard” to get people into treatment as quickly as possible.
“We know that to do this we must create a more integrated, person-centred approach to treatment.
“I recently announced an investment of £2.3 million over the next three years to ensure people are treated not only for their physical health addiction but their mental health too,” she said.
The SNP minister, appointed in response to growing drugs deaths in Scotland, added: “The £250 million we are investing in tackling this public health emergency over the next five years will make a difference – £100 million of that is going towards increasing the provision of residential rehabilitation.
“I am working to ensure it reaches front-line services as quickly as possible and that every single penny counts as we continue to prioritise our efforts to turn this crisis around.”
Recovery Walk ‘shows recovery is possible’
Scottish Recovery Consortium Chief Executive Jardine Simpson said the Perth walk showed that recovery was happening and that it was a positive force.
“People who are in recovery understand the significance and power of compassion and connection.
[People in recovery] become community assets as well as recovery activists – Jardine Simpson
“They become community assets as well as recovery activists.
“We welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to working alongside people with lived and living experience to tackle this public health emergency and making recovery a reality for everyone across Scotland,” he said.