A “horrific” image showing a comatose drug user lying on the ground clutching a syringe has sparked a call for action tackling addiciton.
The picture was taken this week by a passerby in Dundee, Scotland, and has already prompted calls for reforms to drug services.
Dundee Council leader John Alexander is now demanding a new approach to addiction, after 1,187 drug-related deaths in Scotland last year.
He claims society has “failed” and Dundee has suffered a higher concentration of deaths than any other city in Europe in recent years, the Daily Record reports.
Mr Alexander said: “Everyone is aware of the severity of the issue that we face, not only in Dundee but across the whole of Scotland and the UK.
“That’s exactly why we need to see changes to the way in which drug-related services work to tackle this issue, while making sure there’s a huge focus on early intervention.
“Every time a horrific image such as this is printed, all I see is someone’s son, uncle or father.
“They are human beings and we should be treating them as such.
“This is a failure of everyone – as a society we have failed.
“That doesn’t, of course, absolve individuals of the poor choices they have made but we need to see this as a health and wellbeing issue and work to reduce the harm caused to individuals, families, communities and society generally.”
Figures released earlier this month showed 66 people from Dundee died in the past year, many of whom knew each other.
Concerned shoppers found the man in the photo lying next to bins on the city’s Bank Street and phoned emergency services.
One onlooker said: “The police turned up to assist him and searched his person and all his belongings.
“They found at least three needles – some used, some not – and other drug paraphernalia in his pockets and bag.”
The Scottish Ambulance Service also confirmed it attended the scene.