North-east MSP in call to tackle drug deaths

Tess White MSP has urged the Scottish Government to tackle the “heartbreaking” number of lives lost to drugs across the north-east.

Tess White says Nicola Sturgeon needs to get serious about tackling Scotland’s drug deaths epidemic
Tess White says Nicola Sturgeon needs to get serious about tackling Scotland’s drug deaths epidemic

The MSP’s call comes after the latest annual drug death statistics showed 62 people in Aberdeen died from drugs last year. The figure is an increase from 2020 when 56 people lost their lives to drugs.

In Aberdeenshire, 31 people died from substance misuse while 17 died in Moray.

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Nationally, 1,330 Scots died as a result of drugs last year, marginally down on the record high of 1,339 deaths in 2020.

It means Scotland’s drug-deaths rate is five times higher than that of England and Wales, and the highest in Europe.

Ms White, who is the Scottish Conservative Shadow Public Health Minister, says Nicola Sturgeon needs to get serious about tackling Scotland’s drugs deaths epidemic.

And she has called on the SNP to back Douglas Ross’ Right to Recovery Bill.

She said: “The number of people continuing to lose their lives to drugs across the north-east remains absolutely heartbreaking.

“My thoughts are with those across Scotland who have lost a loved one to drugs.

“Our country remains in the grip of a drug deaths epidemic and Nicola Sturgeon shamefully took her eye off the ball.

“The SNP Government simply have to accept that their current approach is not succeeding in reducing drug deaths in places such as Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray.

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“That’s why Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP must now back plans by the Scottish Conservatives and Douglas Ross to introduce a Right to Recovery Bill.

“This would enshrine in law a right to treatment for those who need it most.

“If the Scottish Government stop dithering we can take this action now to tackle the scourge of drug deaths in the north-east and across Scotland.”