Radical rethink needed after scale of drugs death crisis revealed

Iain Gray MSP is backing calls for a change of political and policy direction to end the stigma of drug use and to save lives, as figures this week revealed record levels of drug deaths.

Data published this week showed that 18 drug related deaths occurred last year in East Lothian, more than three times the number of deaths in the county a decade ago.

Scotland continues to have the highest drug-related death rate in Europe and a rate almost 3.5 times the UK rate as a whole.

Scottish Labour has called for an end to the stigma towards people who use drugs problematically and has demanded a national response to the public health emergency.

Commenting, Iain Gray MSP said:

“Every drug-related death is an avoidable tragedy. The scale of the crisis means a radical rethink is required with a joint effort from all political leaders to tackle this human rights emergency.

“People who misuse drugs and their families need urgent action. Safe consumption facilities and increased rapid access to residential rehabilitation are vital and could happen today.

“All political parties must put their heads together and work towards saving lives to help Scotland’s recovery community thrive.”