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Latest news | Statement on Scottish Drug Deaths Crisis Conference

Latest news

Statement on Scottish Drug Deaths Crisis Conference

Yesterday’s Scottish drug summit in Glasgow was a landmark event and the first steps towards finding an agreed solution to tackle the drugs crisis.

Whilst it is clear there will be no single quick-fix solution, there is a lot of effort and focus being put into several approaches that could have a meaningful impact on the drug death crisis.

There was also agreement that there needs to be a collective approach to the problem.

That is why I, and many members of the public, will find it deeply frustrating that the UK Government did not attend the Scottish Drugs Summit, instead deciding to have their own summit the very next day, in the very same building.

The UK Government’s statement, this morning, that the drug deaths crisis requires "a more assertive approach" was extremely unhelpful and goes against the expert opinion that was heard yesterday.

What was clear from the experts in the room was that we must build upon and create new evidence-based interventions, whether that be further support and investment in services and professionals, or the consideration of safe drug consumption rooms.

The idea that an even more assertive, at times aggressive, approach towards people who use drugs, or even support workers, will solve the crisis is downright deluded.

However, we must not be distracted from the good that came out of the Scottish Drugs Summit, which heard from a variety of health, criminal justice and service provision experts, as well as recovering addicts themselves - which was extremely brave of them to do.

I can only hope, and believe, that we can use yesterday’s summit as the first steppingstone towards investment and solutions that are absolutely necessary in stopping a drugs crisis that devastates lives, families, services and communities.

It is clear from yesterday that no party should be looking to political point score on this deeply sad and distressing situation. We all need to work together for the common good.

The summit was indeed a real eye opener, and I will now consider how best to take this issue forward.

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