The Scottish National Party unanimously passed a motion at its party conference calling for the decriminalisation of "consumption and possession of controlled drugs" so "health services are not prevented from giving treatment to those who need it."
Andrew Horne - who is the director of Scotland’s biggest drug and alcohol charity, Addaction - said:
“We warmly welcome the SNP’s decision to officially support the decriminalisation of drugs in Scotland. Trying to arrest our way out of the problem has been a monumental failure, so it’s heartening to see a political party listening to the evidence base.
“People who develop problems with drugs need compassion and support, not punishment. It’s crucial to remember that drug use has no social barriers. People from all walks of life use drugs and all deserve equal treatment for what is ultimately a health and care issue - not a criminal one.”
Horne continued: “Decriminalisation would be a big step forward, but it’s only the first part of a longer journey. Treatment services are often fragmented, confusing and underfunded. We need to embrace more radical harm reduction measures like drug testing (so that people know what they are taking) and drug consumption rooms, which make drug use safer and engage people in services they may not otherwise access.
“We can’t let drug related deaths be a fact of life in Scotland. The evidence of what works to bring them down is there; hopefully the political will to take action is now growing too.”