The Scottish National Party (SNP) has given ‘overwhelming support’ for the devolution of drug laws to Scotland to allow decriminalisation of drug possession.
Delegates at the party’s conference in Aberdeen unanimously passed a resolution calling the present system of drug control legislation ‘not fit for purpose’.
Last year once again saw Scotland record its highest ever number of drug-related deaths, at 1,187 – the fifth consecutive increase and 30 per cent higher than the previous year’s total (DDN, July/August, page 4). The Scottish Government has repeatedly clashed with Westminster over refusal to allow a pilot consumption room project in Glasgow.
The SNP’s move has been welcomed by the Scottish Drugs Forum (SDF).
‘Decriminalisation would address several issues that cause unnecessary harm to people who use drugs and others,’ said CEO David Liddell.
‘The clandestine nature of drug use can stop people seeking information and help from treatment and other professionals. People who regard their use as non-problematic are not open with health professionals, who could otherwise link their health issues with their drug use. People who are already experiencing harms present to services later and in the face of more serious harms than they might otherwise have had. Criminalisation clearly stigmatises people and has negative effects on people’s sense of self and identity. This, for some, leads to more marginalisation and more drug use.’