North Ayrshire has been named as the location for a new national facility for families who have been affected by drug use. 

The Scottish Government announced plans for the new residential rehabilitation facility based in Saltcoats to support families affected by drug use at Holyrood yesterday [Tuesday, August 3].

The facility will provide rehabilitation services for 20 families at any one time and will be based on an existing facility run by the organisation in Sheffield.

This comes after figures last week named Ayrshire as the second-worst for drug deaths in the whole of Europe - with the 20 beds serving all of Scotland.

A total of 1,339 deaths last year were attributed to drugs, up from 1,264, a total of 5.9 per cent increase during 2020.

Funding for the National Specialist Residential Family Service has been agreed in principle and will be run by the charity and housing association Phoenix Futures. 

Minister for Drugs Policy Angela Constance said: “Once again, Scotland drug-related death statistics are a national disgrace and my heart goes out to all the families who have lost a loved one.

“We announced a national mission on this crisis in January and we have been taking a range of actions to tackle this national tragedy backed by an investment of £250 million over the next five years.

“Of that, £20 million each year is being spent on increasing capacity and improving access to residential rehabilitation and to that end, we have approved in principle an application for a development in North Ayrshire which will create a new national specialist service for families.

"It is vital that we make it easier for parents to access treatment by removing any barriers such as a lack of childcare and this project, run by Phoenix Futures will do exactly that."

Once given final approval, funding for the development will be made available from the £100 million announced as part of the national mission to improve and increase the provision of residential rehabilitation.

Phoenix Futures Director of Operations CJ Williams said: “The Scottish Government’s Residential Rehabilitation Rapid Capacity Programme (Recovery Fund) announcement that it has agreed in principle to fund a National Specialist Residential Family Service in Scotland has been well received by all at Phoenix Futures Scotland.

“There is a clear and defined need for a service that supports families to stay together in a safe residential setting. Phoenix Futures have decades of experience in providing services for families to draw from in establishing and operating this new project.

“The Specialist Family Service will create fairer access to residential rehab for the whole family and is a welcomed start to the commitment of investment from The Scottish Government as part of its mission to reduce drug-related deaths and harms.

“We look forward to working with all involved to open Scotland’s National Specialist Residential Family service.”