Scotland’s shocking drug-deaths figure demands radical changes like these – Steve Cardownie

It’s time to descriminalise possession of drugs for personal use and safe consumption rooms, writes Steve Cardownie.

Wednesday, 6th November 2019, 11:45 am
1187 people died last year in Scotland due to drug misuse. Picture (posed by model): Toby Williams
1187 people died last year in Scotland due to drug misuse. Picture (posed by model): Toby Williams

The recent report from the Scottish Affairs Committee at Westminster on drugs misuse in Scotland made recommendations that have been a long time coming and which have been called for for some time by some of those working to help deal with this very real and tragic issue.

As a former councillor in an area of deprivation, I was made only too well aware of the scale of drug misuse and the horrendous consequences that can unfold, particularly amongst young people. Although not confined to deprived areas of the city, it is there where dealers concentrate and where they indulge in their vile trade.

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A total of 1,187 people in Scotland died last year due to drug misuse so it is imperative that solutions which target the problem without lecturing or stigmatising the victims are enacted without delay.

The recommendations that the possession of drugs for personal use be decriminalised and that safer consumption facilities be established are to be welcomed and should come into force immediately if we are to tackle this issue head-on.

The Scottish Government has been trying to set up just such a facility in Glasgow as evidence from abroad demonstrates their effectiveness, but to date has been blocked by Westminster.

It is gratifying to see that the SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon, has identified this matter as a key issue post-election and said that it would feature prominently in any negotiations with other political parties, as she quite rightly states that this “is something that we can have as a non-party issue”.

Let’s hope that the other parties agree and that, at long last, the appropriate action will be taken.