Readers' letters: We need a new approach to drugs laws

Angela Constance MSP Minister for Drug Policy, today Scottish Parliament Holyrood Edinburgh.Angela Constance MSP Minister for Drug Policy, today Scottish Parliament Holyrood Edinburgh.
Angela Constance MSP Minister for Drug Policy, today Scottish Parliament Holyrood Edinburgh.
Conservative MSP Sue Webber is right to use her column (News, 30 September) to quote medical consultant Dr Correge's opinion of the SNP's record on drug misuse deaths as "a scandal".

Scotland's drug misuse deaths for 2021 are the second highest on record, needless deaths that can be avoided if the SNP took appropriate action. Time will tell if the hapless Conservative leader Douglas Ross will progress his "Right to Recovery" through Holyrood with its flaws.

Ms Webber often forays into this policy area and she, like the SNP, should tread lightly when criticising others. The new Tory home secretary (who makes Priti Patel appear like Elsie Inglis) is overseeing a consultation headed "Swift, Certain, Tough; New Consequences for Drug Possession" - these include suggesting that passports and driving licence confiscation could be a penalty, even for smoking a spliff at home! It is moot as to what extent any such laws would apply in Scotland.

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The new education secretary at Westminster earlier this year said stigmatising drug users should remain a weapon in the so-called war on drugs, or as more informed commentators say, a discredited war on people

I cannot trace Scotland's own SNP education secretary having said anything material in her post about drugs education for our young people.

No wonder Ms Sturgeon and her drugs minister Angela Constance are planning for a single issue election, avoiding scrutiny in this crucial area alongside failings in the Scottish NHS and what yet may turn out to be fraud in the self-made ferries fiasco and more.

The drug laws in Scotland are the same as in England yet there are four times more deaths here than south of the Border.

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Our citizens experience higher rates of poverty, homelessness, inadequate housing, opioid and benzodiazepine addiction and misadventure, childhood trauma and other deprivations.

Douglas McBean, Edinburgh.

It's time to change our NHS Scotland

NHS Scotland is apparently not now performing in a way that satisfies patients

Long queues at Accident and Emergency and hospital beds blocked by patients who are well enough to be discharged but have no support at home available, show this clearly.

In Primary Care, GPs find telephone consultations allow them contact with many more patients per surgery time and apparently have no intention of returning to their previous hands-on consultations, except for emergencies.

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They encourage unsatisfied patients to make appointments to see the GPnurses instead.

Three years of Covid “lockdown” with a continuing low grade, nation-wide infection that causes varying levels of anxiety, have changed our needs and expectations of medical care.

I believe that the pressures on A& E should be catered for by doubling the A&E facilities in hospitals including all the X-ray, biochemistry, mammography etc services that are immediately available to patients. This will be costly but selling unused GP surgeries, keeping only space used by nurses, receptionists and one doctor’s surgery might produce some funds.

Hospitals also need hospital beds immediately available to those needing medical or surgical treatment.

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Bed blocking is easily solved by converting suitable buildings into convalescent hospitals. Staffing these, however, will require Scotland to become independent and rejoin the EU so that trained staff from Europe can obtain work in them.

Elizabeth Scott. Edinburgh

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