Addicts seeking alcohol and drug treatment in the Borders are being seen quickly, new figures have revealed.
Waiting times for treatment have come down over the past year, from just 70% of people being treated within three weeks of referral in September 2017, to 97% in June this year.
Treatments include community based support, residential rehabilitation, prescribed drug treatments such as methadone or motivational interventions.
The latest figures, from the Information Services Division Scotland, show that the Borders is ahead of the national average when it comes to early intervention.
Welcoming the news, Borders Alcohol and Drugs Partnership member, mid Berwickshire councillor John Greenwell said that efforts to bring waiting times down had paid off.
“Evidence shows that early interventions are much more effective in targeting alcohol and drug problems, which is why it is so encouraging to see so many people in the Borders getting the help they need more quickly,” he said.
The national target is for 90% of patients to receive treatment within three weeks of referral.
John Lamont MP said it was good to see public and voluntary bodies in the Borders working so effectively together.
He added: “This significant improvement in waiting times is down to the hard work of NHS Borders, Scottish Borders Council and others involved in the Alcohol and Drug Partnership in the last few months.
“Although we are talking about a relatively low number of individuals, the cost that substance abuse has on our health services, our police and on other public services is significant. Alcohol harm alone is estimated to cost the Borders over £30m each year.”