Scotland’s war on drugs is a ‘record of failure’

Dr Neil McKeganey fears police are not as interested in cracking down on heroin any more as cocaine. Picture: TSPL
Dr Neil McKeganey fears police are not as interested in cracking down on heroin any more as cocaine. Picture: TSPL
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SCOTLAND’S efforts to tackle its status as Europe’s worst drugs blackspot has been branded a “record of failure not success” by one of the country’s a leading drugs experts.

The Scottish Government’s flagship “Road to Recovery” strategy has not had any “marked impact” on drug abuse, according to Dr Neil McKeganey, director of the Centre for Drug Misuse research.

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He also hits out at failures among local Alcohol and Drug partnerships (ADPs) to deliver on the ground and fears police are not as interested in cracking down on heroin any more as cocaine.

“It is not a lack of knowledge (although there are significant gaps in knowledge) that has truly hampered efforts at tackling Scotland’s drugs problem,” he states in a new essay.

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“Rather there appears to have been successive shortcomings in the capacity to combine drug policy at the strategic level with a clear mechanism for implementation at the `street level.’”

The criticism has been published in a new booklet published by the Conservatives entitled Justice Matters.

Dr McKeganey also warns there are “very real concerns” at the way Scotland’s methadone programme is being used, with a lack of information about those on the programme and those leaving it drug free.

“Half of all drug deaths in Scotland are now linked to methadone compared to a figure of 14% in England” he adds.

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Tory leader Ruth Davidson said the booklet sets out “straightforward, no-nonsense Conservative policies that reflect the concerns of mainstream Scotland.”

She added: “Our aim is to cut crime and anti-social behaviour, make our communities safer and improve the quality of life for ordinary Scots.”

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