THE council’s chief executive has said the local authority will “do all that we can do” to stem the rise in drug deaths.

Speaking at a meeting of the management board of Community Planning West Dunbartonshire, Joyce White said the Alcohol and Drug Partnership, as well as other council partners will “put their shoulder to the wheel” in a bid to help local addicts.

The comment came as police reported they had seen six suspected drug deaths in the first quarter of this year, between April 1 and the end of June.

Police were quick to say the number was tentative, and that confirmation on whether a death was drug related would not be given for six months.

At the meeting, Ms White said: “We’ve to make sure that we’re going to be doing all we can do.

“We really need to step forward and do something as a nation and as a local authority.

“What more can we do?

“We all sit here as parents, or brothers or sisters, whatever we can do to step up, we should do.

“Here’s another area where we can all put our shoulders to the wheel and do something for West Dunbartonshire.”

Read more: REVEALED: West Dunbartonshire drug deaths up by four times in two decades

Ms White wondered whether representation should be given to causes solely looking to help those in need.

She said: “I wonder if this needs to be something where we have a really strong voice, in the same way that we do for domestic violence.”

The chief executive also asked John Paterson, the newly appointed chief inspector for Police Scotland in Argyll and West Dunbartonshire, if there’s more that could be done by local authorities and their partners to help slow the tide.

The officer said that there was always more to be done, but that it would require a strong partnership between public sector agencies to battle the problem.

Last month, the Reporter revealed an increase in the number of people killed as a result of drugs in West Dunbartonshire last year, which has risen from 15 in 2017, to 20 last year.

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If the current trend continues, West Dunbartonshire is would be on track to see 24 deaths this year.