Welcome to the new Taskforce website

I’m writing this blog as a welcome to the new Taskforce website, which we hope will make the Taskforce and the work it does more open and accessible for all our stakeholders including the emergency and support agencies we partner with, the wider network of public services, the Scottish public, and the people we want to help. Who does that leave out, nobody? I guess drugs, reducing harm and drug-related deaths is something we all care about. That much I can say I have learned in one year as Chair.

What else have I learned? Scotland’s challenge is as unique as it is complex, with no single magic fix. Evidence has been key and where we don’t have it we continue to seek it. The Taskforce  has explored many aspects and areas of activity. Pursuing promising lines of enquiry had led to different Taskforce members working across different initiatives, with different stakeholders, with appropriately different strategies and tactics.  It has been challenging to individuals and their organisations. However, the common themes to all of them are urgency, and saving lives. 

So, the website will from now on provide a window into our work as it develops further. It’s not the answer to our challenge, or even part of the answer – that lies in finding the right balance of initiatives mentioned earlier into a single blueprint for Scotland that will bring sustainable change. Gathering all the details of these for this site has brought just how much is happening into sharp perspective, and I am proud of the commitment of the Taskforce and sub group volunteer members and the dedicated support team for making it happen. The website details our work in progress. We will all be even more proud when the evidence shows that our energies are having the right impact on drug-related deaths.

Professor Catriona Matheson
Chair