A local MSP has called for an end to the "negative stigma" surrounding problematic drug and alcohol use. 

Carrick, Cumnock, and Doon Valley MSP Elena Whitham has been highlighting the work of national and local organisations that offer support for those experiencing drug and alcohol challenges.

Ms Whitham, who serves in the Scottish Government as Minister for Drugs and Alcohol Policy, has also praised local charities offering a route to recovery.

The SNP politician said: “The Scottish Government is making significant progress in preventing drug and alcohol-related deaths and is doing what it can to offer as much support to users as possible. However, we know there is much further to go.

“Unfortunately, a negative stigma still surrounds those with problematic drug and alcohol use and these people are often pushed to the margins. This must stop and we need to do better as a society.

“Addiction support is an important aspect of healthcare which gives a route of recovery and sees users thrive as active members of our community.

“If you, or someone you know, is affected by drugs and alcohol, please know support is available and you have a right to get help and thrive."

Ms Whitham said she was "incredibly proud" of the work carried out by local organisation Harbour Ayrshire to tackle the issue.

She added: "This relatively new charity provides a ‘shelter from the storm of addiction’ and has many different support groups across our area. Please visit harbourayrshire.co.uk for more information.

“It is also important to speak to your pharmacist or GP, as they will be able to provide individual advice for your circumstances and signpost you to organisations such as NHS services in East and South Ayrshire, as well as national services such as Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous.”