First ever drug rehabilitation village opens its doors

The Herald, by Fiona McKay 

Scotland’s first ever long-term “drug rehabilitation village” opens its doors today.

The River Garden Auchincruive project, near Ayr, is a groundbreaking residential project to help those recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.

Run by charity Independence from Drugs and Alcohol Scotland (IFDAS), the programme is inspired by a number of radical rehab programmes from around the world.

It will initially provide accommodation, training and support for up to 40 former addicts who will live there for up to three years

Director of Development at IFDAS, Mark Bitel said the three year programme was unlike any other type of service currently available in the UK.

The 48-acre site acts as a residential training and social enterprise development where the community will grow food to supply an onsite shop and café, and run a bakery.

The programme will be free while residents are volunteering – expected to be for an average 15-month period – but they will pay for their accommodation once they are employed by the centre.

Mr Bitel added: “We aim to demonstrate that there is a different approach with good outcomes for individuals who complete their programmes, their families, communities and, ultimately, the wider society.”

Scotland currently has among the worst drug and alcohol problems in Europe, with 867 drug-related deaths reported in 2016 — double the amount reported in 2015.

The average rehab programme in Scotland lasts three months.

Although 97 per cent of people leaving residential drug treatment programmes are clean, about 80 per cent have relapsed within a month.