Christian groups at the forefront of drug work in Scotland, report says

CHURCHES and Christian groups in Scotland are at the forefront of addictions work, according to a new report.

Church groups have helped more than 2,300 people recover from drug addiction over the past decade, according to the Evangelical Fellowship and Share Scotland report.

Christian organizations currently provide more than a quarter of available beds in Scotland for alcohol and drug treatment: 121 out of 418.

Drug-related deaths in Scotland hit a record 1,339 in 2020: 5% more than in 2019, and the highest recorded since 1996. The country had by far the highest drug-related death rate in Scotland. Europe – three and a half times. that of England and Wales – although figures for 2021 showed a slight decline.

The report, Stories of Hope: Addiction Treatment, published last week, says: “Scotland has been scarred by the devastating impact of drug and alcohol addiction in many ways. Today, the nation is at the forefront of drug addiction problems and deaths in Europe, with repercussions on health, economic, educational and social challenges for families and communities in urban and rural settings .

“The growing mental health crisis, socio-economic challenges and limited clinical support, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, have resulted in the largest increase in addiction issues in more than a decade.”

The Scottish Government has pledged £50 million in funding over the next five years for community organizations working to support recovering drug users, and it is hoped the report will make the case for earmarking some of that this new funding to pre-existing faith-based organizations. programs.

The report presents some of the projects proposed by faith groups. These include the Havilah Ministry in St Andrew’s, Arbroath, which serves over 100 people each month in a walk-in service; and the Alpha Hebrides project, which offers a residential recovery program in the Western Isles.

Residential rehabilitation programs run by faith-based groups have a high success rate: all respondents to an online survey of Christian groups in the area reported a success rate of over 50%, with an average of 66%.

Liam, one of the recovering drug addicts named in the report, said: “All my life I have struggled with fear and anxiety following traumatic childhood experiences.

“After 20 years of using drugs and alcohol for pain relief, I’ve been reduced to a level of brokenness I never thought possible. If it wasn’t for Le Havre [one of the Christian groups in the report]I would probably be dead, and my family devastated.

“I will never be able to thank the staff for the impact they have had on me and my family’s life. Jesus always saves people, he always heals people and he always changes people’s lives. I am living proof.”

Director of Evangelical Alliance Scotland, Fred Drummond, said: “This report shows that Christians, fueled by the love of God, reach out to people in their darkest times and walk with them to a place of hope”.

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