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Scot Lib Dems bid to end drug deaths epidemic

October 8, 2021 5:00 PM
Originally published by Scottish Liberal Democrats

The Scottish Liberal Democrat autumn conference today endorsed measures designed to help bring an end to Scotland's drug deaths epidemic, amid fears that Scotland isn't on course to reduce the number of people dying.

Conference also championed Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton's request to the World Health Organisation (WHO) to send a taskforce of global experts on drug mortality to help get this public health disaster under control.

Commenting after the motion passed, Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

"Scotland has the worst drug mortality in Europe. Nearly four times the rate of our neighbours in England and Wales. We cannot continue to witness this epidemic destroying lives.

"Despite the focus of an entire ministerial portfolio, additional investment and interventions like the rollout of naloxone, people are still dying at the same terrifying rate. That is the legacy of years of prior government inaction.

"Government must be open to learning from international best practice. It is why I have written to the Director General of the WHO to ask for a specialised taskforce, made up of leading experts in drug mortality, to analyse and mobilise against this particularly Scottish epidemic."

Scottish Liberal Democrat spokesperson for the drugs emergency, Councillor Ben Lawrie added:

"Every drug death is preventable. However, that task became ten times harder when the SNP cut the budget for critical prevention services by 22%. Help and expertise that people relied upon was needlessly surrendered when it should have been expanded.

"Scotland needs new measures to reduce morbidity and mortality. It means diverting people at risk into treatment and education instead of prison, with fast access to support and services for them and their families. I want to see accessible drug testing and an acceleration of the training, awareness raising and rollout for naloxone too.

"Only by providing creating safer conditions will we finally be able to put an end to the drug death epidemic."

ENDS