Scottish law could be changed to tackle drug deaths, says Dundee council leader

Drug deaths are on the rise in Scotland
Drug deaths are on the rise in Scotland
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The UK and Scottish governments should consider changing the law to tackle drug deaths, the leader of Dundee City Council has said.

John Alexander's comments came ahead of him chairing a meeting of the Dundee Partnership Forum to discuss a report on rising drug deaths in the city.

Dundee City Council leader John Alexander

Dundee City Council leader John Alexander

The report by the Dundee Drugs Commission, set up last year in response to the death toll, found the situation can be turned around and drug deaths cut.

READ MORE: ‘A national crisis’: Drug-related deaths in Scotland at highest ever level
It backed calls to petition the UK Government for increased devolved powers to allow for a full Scottish review of drug laws.

Among 16 recommendations were the need for cultural change across drug treatment services and to address the root causes of drug problems.

Now the forum is meeting to discuss the commission's report, published in August.

READ MORE: Shocking number of drug deaths in Scotland demands action – leader comment
Ahead of the meeting today, Mr Alexander said: "All the Dundee partners are absolutely clear in their commitment that the commission's findings represent a turning point for our city to prevent the scourge of drugs ripping families and communities apart.

"I am impressed by the insight and the perspective that the commission have given to us to map the way forward.

"Already, recommendations from the commission are being put into action and are making an impact.

"However, this is a long-term journey and we cannot cut corners when it comes to putting in place changes to save lives. There are no easy solutions.

"We are also keen that Dundee's journey can influence the national situation and that is why we are asking the Scottish and UK governments to consider changes to legislation, funding and policies proposed by the commission."