SNP shamed for drug deaths ‘devastation’ as Sturgeon to set referendum date THIS WEEK

SNP slammed by Willie Rennie over ‘record high’ drug deaths

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Nicola Sturgeon will make a statement to the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday afternoon just days after unveiling her new cabinet. As part of this, Ms Sturgeon is expected to give an update on the timing of a second independence referendum alongside the delivery of several manifesto pledges.

But ahead of the speech, the Scottish Conservatives called for the party to urgently tackle drug deaths.

New party health spokesman Annie Wells MSP submitted a motion for a “Right to Recovery” as a starting point towards a Bill that would ensure everyone has access to the necessary treatment they need.

The Scottish Conservatives also appealed for cross-party support to tackle drug deaths by opening up access to treatment and rehabilitation programmes.

The Glasgow regional list MSP said: “In communities like mine, the drug death crisis causes more devastation every year. We cannot continue like this for another 5 years.

“We will be reaching out to parties across the Scottish Parliament, starting with this motion, and seeking to build a consensus around the need for a Right to Recovery.

“People are being denied the support they need. In many cases, they are not even being told that residential rehabilitation is an option.”

Meanwhile, newly elected Lothian MSP Sue Webber is calling for an urgent meeting with new drug policy minister Angela Constance over the SNP Government’s drug record.

The new Scottish Conservative Drug Policy spokesman said: “Drug deaths are Scotland’s shame.

“The Scottish Government have accepted they ‘took their eye off the ball’ but we are still not seeing enough action.

“We will be asking to meet with Angela Constance and spokespeople from all parties over the next few weeks to start making progress on a Right to Recovery Bill.”

The Scottish Conservatives plan to bring forward a Right to Recovery law as one of at least 15 Bills over the course of the next Parliamentary term.

Figures from National Records of Scotland have revealed 1,264 people died in 2019 with causes linked to substances, three times higher than any EU country.

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The statistics are a 6 percent increase on 2018 and have been widely condemned by opposition figures as a “national disgrace”.

Previous former public health minister Joe FitzPatrick was sacked over the scandal last year before being replaced by Angela Constance.

The Scottish Government was approached for comment.

 

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