THERE is probably a Bob Dylan lyric for every occasion.

This week, it was revealed the number of drug-related deaths has increased yet again in Glasgow to almost 200 a year.

It has doubled in the last eight years.

There were 192 drug-related deaths in Glasgow, with heroin, morphine and/or methadone implicated in the vast majority of cases.

Many are aged 35 to 54, evidence of an ageing drug addict population.

Three people a week are dying. Three families every week at funerals for someone whose life has been a misery for years and who has in many cases tested their family’s patience to the limit, and also in many cases, broken it.

The current strategy is obviously not working. The answer to getting people off heroin for decades now has been prescribing the substitute, methadone.

For some it has kept them stable but addicted. For many of these tragedies it has been a factor in their death.

As well as a daily dose of methadone, these addicts are also taking heroin and other illegal drugs.

According to these statistics Scotland’s death rate of 934 in the last year is more than twice that of England and Wales and Glasgow has one of the highest rates in Europe.

Why is that so? There needs to be an understanding why this blights Glasgow more than other similar cities. Only Dundee had a higher per population drug related death toll last year.

The highest in England is Blackpool where 14 per 100,000 people died. In Glasgow it is 24 per 100,000.

So, Glasgow has a far higher rate than large cities like Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle, who have also had their problems with drugs, poverty and de-industrialisation.

The Scottish Government said every death is a tragedy and it will continue to do all it can to prevent deaths.

That sounds like little more than warm words when action is needed. Almost 1,000 people have died in one year and the total is rising.

Behind every one of these deaths lies a different story. There may be patterns but the circumstances of each person’s downward trajectory into to a life of misery and an early grave are complicated.

Why they first took drugs, why they got trapped in that lifestyle and why they were unable or unwilling to accept or benefit from the help that is on offer will be for different reasons.

There is no easy answer but there are radical ideas. The criminal approach has not worked unless you’re willing to write these lives off. Looking at addiction from a health perspective must be considered.

One starting point can be the introduction of safe drug consumption rooms.

It won’t magically get everyone who is on them, off drugs. It will reduce the risk of overdose. It will reduce the risk of deadly infection and it will reduce the risk to the wider public from discarded needles and contaminated drug-taking equipment.

This is where Mr Dylan’s words come into play.

When Home Secretary Sajid Javid is contacted by the council asking him to grant the necessary concessions to allow this facility to go ahead, he can ask himself the question: ‘How many ears must one man have before he can hear people cry?’

‘How many deaths will it take ‘til he knows, that too many people have died?’