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Further calls have been made for a stakeholders meeting to take place to help those suffering with substance abuse in Oban.
Alastair MacGregor, chief executive of Argyll Community Housing Association (ACHA), is calling for a meeting with those who have the ‘resources and influence’ to help tackle the issue.
Chairwoman of Oban, Lorn, and the Isles Area Committee, Councillor Elaine Robertson, said she would support such an event and the Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership would be ‘pleased to attend’.
This comes after former drugs worker and Oban councillor Julie McKenzie called for a drugs summit to discuss the issue.
Ms McKenzie previously called for a drugs mapping exercise to be carried out to best ascertain the issue in the area.
Iain Angus MacDonald, chairman of OASIS, an Oban-based addiction charity, backed that stance, stating an ‘independent assessment would go a long way to identify what the problem is really like’.
Speaking to The Oban Times this week, ACHA’s Mr MacGregor said: ‘The Scottish Government last week announced an additional £12.7 million to tackle drug and alcohol misuse in Scotland.
‘That is welcome but in my opinion in Oban we need to ensure that bodies like the council, the health service, Scottish Government, voluntary organisations and housing associations pull together to resource the support required to take young people back from the terrible end game that drug misuse can bring.
‘I understand that while some work is going on on the ground, it needs to be resourced and supported better and there needs to be better joined-up work between those that have the resources to make a difference.
‘At this point, I am simply asking that the powers-that-be meet to talk through the reality that exists at the present time and have an honest discussion about how we move forward.’
Councillor Robertson said: ‘It’s a horrendous issue we are facing, not just in Oban but across the entire country.
‘I would be happy for a stakeholders meeting to go ahead. Anything that can improve the situation has to be welcomed.
‘If [Alastair] called a meeting, I would certainly support him in that and when I am fit and able, I am willing to participate in it.’
A spokeswomen for Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership said: ‘We would be pleased to attend future meetings to help develop services available to people living in Oban and surrounding communities.’
For more information on alcohol and drug support, advice and services, visit the ADP website – www.argyllandbuteadp.info – call 01546 604948 or email High-UHB.ArgyllandButeADP@nhs.net