PEOPLE affected by drug use in Stirling could get on the path to recovery following the launch of a pioneering digital platform.

The Forth Valley Recovers App is the first of its kind in Scotland and comes amid recent revelations into a record volume of substance-related deaths across the country last year.

It offers important information to individuals, directing them to local and national support while providing encouragement to engage with services.

The smartphone application was developed in conjunction with the local Forth Valley Recovery Community, which runs a weekly café in Sauchie.

The idea was previously highlighted in the Advertiser when a recovering addict and volunteer leader opened up to explore issues around misuse.

Following its launch Wee County Councillor Les Sharp, vice chair of the Clackmannanshire and Stirling Health and Social Care Partnership Board, said the app would support those trying to tackle their addiction.

He added: "People committed to making recovery happen deserve all the support they can get and this app has information on where to find services, what help is available and can help people to create their own recovery plan."

Faff Digital, an award-winning company, created the software which aims to assist people in their recovery via a range of interactive features.

It also helps users understand the impact of drugs and alcohol on their health as well as the effects on others around them.

The app is available for iOS, Android and on Amazon devices; it is also accessible through the website.

It is hoped the programme will help reduce the stigma and discrimination experienced by those who may find it difficult to engage with services in person.

Through the app or website, people can get help to identify what might lead to them using substances, develop coping strategies and more.

It also encourages those in recovery to keep a list of supportive people they feel comfortable with in reaching out to for help in stressful situations.

Indeed, back in July when the Advertiser reported on record numbers of drug deaths, local woman in recovery and volunteer at the Sauchie café Becky Wood explained making connections with the right people, loving one's self and others around can be a massive help.

The app was developed with funding from the Clackmannanshire and Stirling ADP, which is linked to the partnership that incorporates local authorities and NHS Forth Valley.

Dr Graham Foster, director of public health at the local health board, explained that supporting communities affected by substance uses is a "key priority".

He added: "The Forth Valley Alcohol and Drug Partnership team estimate that for every person who has problems with substance use there are likely to be two or three other people who are directly affected.

"These include spouses, partners, children and siblings, as well as co-workers and friends.

"Families have a critical role to play in helping people on the road to recovery by engaging more fully in their recovery plan and this pioneering app is an important step forward in providing vital support and advice."