MSPs have called for the decriminalisation of drugs for personal use.
They agreed a motion tabled by Liberal Democrat MSP Liam McArthur on the principle of not prosecuting people caught in possession of illegal drugs intended for personal use.
It also called for the next Scottish Government to coordinate a “Scotland-wide network of heroin-assisted treatment facilities” – an idea dismissed by the UK Government earlier this month.
McArthur claimed that the motion’s aim of working “towards diverting people caught in possession of drugs for personal use into treatment and ceasing imprisonment in these cases” would help save lives.
But earlier this month, the UK Minister for Crime and Policing, Kit Malthouse, made clear that such an approach would fail to address “the harms associated with drug dependence and the misery that this can cause to families and communities”.
Last year, statistics from Public Health Scotland showed the number of drug users admitted to hospital increased from just over 4,000 in 1996-97 to approximately 14,000 in 2018-2019.