The taskforce, chaired by Professor Catriona Matheson of the University of Stirling, has 23 members with a range of expertise and experience in the substance use and related-fields.
Welcoming the group, Dumfriesshire MSP Oliver Mundell said: “The recent statistics which showed drugs deaths in Scotland were the highest in population terms of any country in the EU were shocking. “They reflected 1187 personal tragedies leaving grief-stricken families and friends, some of whom live in Dumfriesshire. I welcome any measure which not only provides practical support and assistance at the right time to addicts but also tackles the long-term causes of this blight on society.
“There are no easy answers but the task force must have the resources and support they need to come up with potential solutions.”
The first meeting of the group will take place on September 17.
Last month this newspaper shared the story of grieving brother Stewart Wyllie, whose brother, Craig, originally from Annan passed away from suspected drug misuse on July 23. Stewart is channelling his grief into action and has vowed to tackle the ‘flawed’ drugs support services in Dumfries and Galloway and wider Scotland.
• The NHS Specialist Drug and Alcohol Service can be contacted on 01387 244555.