Stuart McMillan MSP praised the immediate action taken by the Scottish Government to reduce drug-related deaths during his speech in the Scottish Parliament today.
As a board member of Moving On Inverclyde, the Greenock and Inverclyde MSP also highlighted the vital role of third sector organisations in supporting people who are living with drug addiction.
Commenting after the debate, Stuart said:
“Almost 3,400 people in Scotland have lost their lives to drug misuse in the last three years – including 80 in Inverclyde. Each one of these deaths is a tragedy and I offer my condolences to the family, friends and loved ones of those who have lost their lives.
“The number of drug related deaths in Scotland is simply unacceptable, which is why I welcomed the First Minister declaring a national mission to tackle this crisis and appointing my colleague Angela Constance MSP as Scotland’s first ever Minister for Drug Policy.
“This makes Scotland the first country in the UK to appoint a dedicated Minister to this issue – a clear indication of the Scottish Government’s intentions to provide that national mission with the leadership and focus it needs to turn the tide on this issue.
“An immediate £5m was made available to ensure priority work on reducing drug deaths and harms, which the Minister confirmed today is already having a positive impact with around 150 residential beds created. The Scottish Government has also committed an additional £250m over the next parliament to addressing this issue.
“This will help ensure that residential rehabilitation is available of everyone who wants it – and for whom it is deemed to be clinically appropriate – at the time when they ask for it, in every part of the country.
“I also welcome the Minister’s announcement that women, families and children are among those who will benefit from four separate funds worth a total of £18m to improve drugs services that will be launched in May this year.
“However, in order to deal with the drugs crisis Scotland faces, three main aspects need to be delivered: partnership working, evidenced-based solutions, and listening and acting on people with lived experiences.
“Every politician and society needs to challenge their own thinking and traditional thinking of how to tackle the drugs crisis. If we don’t, more people will die, more families will lose a loved one, and more communities will lose people who could be contributing positively to it.”