THE drug-related death figures that were released this week represent the tip of an iceberg.

The 280 lives lost last year is a fraction of those lives already destroyed by a crisis this country has failed to tackle for decades.

One of the reasons there has been a failure is a lack of understanding of many of those affected by drug abuse.


Scottish leaders commit to summit

People become invisible. Yes, you can see them, in our communities and in the city centre, but all too often what people see is a drug addict, not a person.

An apparition, representative of a problem that rather than confront as a society many just want to wish away.

The statistics show it is not going away, instead, it is getting worse.

But to the mother of that person, the father, sister, brother and tragically also the son and daughter, they are a real person with a past, a role, a place in a family.

A family that has been torn apart by their drug addiction.

Often, they are ostracised from their family for understandable reasons, but rarely, if at all, are they forgotten.

How many people have a primary seven school picture in their house, in a box of old photos in a cupboard or in a loft?


How many more have to die?

Many do the rounds on facebook and on old school groups.

Glasgow has around 150 primary schools just now. In the 1980s and 1990s, it would be closer to 300.

Perhaps at one point in that era, there were exactly 280 primary schools.

This year’s drug-related death figures represent one boy or girl from every single primary seven class in any given year in the 1980s or 90s.

At some point most of those 280 people in this year’s shameful statistics was a wee boy or girl sitting in a classroom, smiling in front of a photographer.

The chances are, however, in many cases the boy or girl in your year who became a problem drug user and a death statistic at some point in the last decade is missing from the photo.

They might have been taken into care or regularly absent for long periods.

The chances are, as children, we didn’t know what was going in their family lives.

Many will have suffered what is now termed Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

There can be many reasons why someone becomes a drug addict and like any other condition, to treat the disease you need to investigate the symptoms and understand the causes.

This will need a huge effort and a shift in thinking to start to make a difference.

That’s why the Evening Times is calling for the leaders of the UK Government to come to Glasgow for an emergency drug deaths summit.

To work with the Scottish Government and city council and all those involved in treatment and policing to devise a new strategy.

A strategy that can help get the right services in place that can not only work to keep drugs off our streets but stop those with the worst problem from dying and get more people into recovery services.

It can be done. It is worth fighting for.

LAST weekend it seemed that every teenager in Scotland was in Glasgow. The city centre was a riot of colour as thousands headed for Glasgow Green for the three-day Trnsmt festival.

It was an obvious success and many who attended will already be looking forward to next year’s event.

It was less of a great time for people living in the area around Glasgow Green, however.


Fans need to learn some manners

The people around Bellahouston Park could have told them what to expect having endured the Summer Sessions.

The festivals bring lots of big-name acts and emerging talent to the city as well as an economic boost for the hospitality sector. They are undoubtedly good for Glasgow.

If we are going to use our parks for these events, however, we need to ensure that people who live around the parks do not have to put up with behaviour that we do not want in our communities.

IN telling congresswomen who disagree with him that they can “go back” to the places “from which they came”, President Donald Trump has spectacularly and wilfully misunderstood the very foundations of the country he is in charge of.

That great nation’s success is built on immigration and the endeavours of people from around the world lured there in pursuit of their hopes and dreams.

As Barack Obama said: “Unless you are one of the first Americans, a Native American, you came from someplace else.”