The Home Office has refused invitations from the Scottish Affairs Committee to give evidence on the UK’s drugs policy, despite rising numbers of drug-related deaths in Scotland.
Following requests to give evidence defending the UK’s current drugs policy and its impact on Scotland, Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, Victoria Atkins MP has told the Scottish Affairs Committee she will not appear in front of the Committee.
Review of UK drugs policy needed
During the Committee’s ongoing inquiry into Problem Drug Use in Scotland, the Committee has heard evidence that UK drug policy should be reviewed to better support the recovery of drug users. The Committee’s evidence suggests that the Misuse of Drugs Act is restricting the Scottish Government’s ability to address the rising number of drug-related deaths in Scotland, for example by preventing the opening of Safe Consumption Rooms, meaning urgent reform of UK Government policy is required.
No appearance before Committee
The Committee has asked the Minister to appear in front of the Committee on numerous occasions to account for the UK Government’s drugs policy and has been told in the most recent communication that the Minister “is not offering any dates for her appearance”.
Commenting on the Home Office’s refusal to account for its policy, Committee Chair Pete Wishart MP said:
“When hundreds of people are dying each year from drugs in Scotland, it is reprehensible that the Minister will not come to the Scottish Affairs Committee to answer some important questions about the UK’s drug policy.
If the Government is confident that it is taking the right approach to tackling drug misuse it should be willing to appear before my Committee to defend its position.”