Responding to the release of the latest official drug-related deaths figures for 2018 published today, the Chair of the Scottish Affairs Committee says the tragedy of Scotland’s ever-increasing drug-related death rate must prompt a change in drugs policy in Westminster.
Policy changes needed
The latest official figures revealing that 1,187 people died from drug-related causes last year – an increase of 27% on 2017 – come as the Scottish Affairs Committee is concluding its inquiry into problem drug use in Scotland. The Committee’s evidence suggests that significant changes in UK policy are needed in order to address the underlying drivers of problematic drug use, and remove the barriers to recovery experienced by thousands of individuals across Scotland.
In light of the 2018 drug death figure, the Chair of the Committee, Pete Wishart MP, urges the UK Government to recognise the evidence suggesting that its current approach is not working. He commented:
“Today’s disturbing figures show just how severely the UK Government’s current drugs policy is failing the people of Scotland. Westminster must wake up to the reality that a new, evidence-based approach to drugs is needed. My Committee is now concluding its evidence-taking for our drugs inquiry, and will shortly be publishing a report which will set out a number of strong recommendations on what the UK Government should be doing to prevent the loss of further life in Scotland.”
The Scottish Affairs Committee is expected to publish its final report on problem drug use in Scotland in early autumn.