Shocking number of drug deaths in Scotland demands action – leader comment

An addict prepares to use a drug consumption room in Greece (Picture: Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images)
An addict prepares to use a drug consumption room in Greece (Picture: Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images)
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Official figures showing 1,187 people died of drug-related causes last year underline what many already know – Scotland is in the midst of a serious drug crisis.

Astonishingly, this is nearly three times the UK’s drug-death rate and also the highest in the EU by some distance, despite differences in the way the statistics are recorded.

So, three things seem abundantly clear: 1, Scotland has a particular problem; 2, our current efforts to tackle that problem have singularly failed; and 3, new, much more effective methods are now required.

READ MORE: Ex police officer claims Scotland’s war on drugs is lost

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The Scottish Government has renewed its call for a pilot of a drug consumption room in Glasgow, a measure that has so far been resisted by Westminster.

Whether this is a good idea or not is hard to say, but what is patently obvious is that a political stand-off benefits no one, least of all the drug users who need our help.

As a matter of urgency, the Scottish and UK Governments should set aside their differences and work constructively together to find new ways to tackle and, hopefully, one day end the misery caused by illegal drugs.