Decriminalising drugs will make them safer, a member of the Scottish Government has claimed.
Co-leader of the Scottish Greens Lorna Slater made the “astoundingly reckless” remarks as Scottish drugs deaths reach an all time high.
Over 1,300 people died of drug misuse in Scotland in 2020, figures that are more than three-and-a-half times those in England and Wales.
In an episode of Untribal podcast, Slater was challenged on whether her party’s policy of decriminalising drugs would lead to a rise in consumption.
The Government Minister responded that people “don’t use drugs because they’re illegal”.
She added: “The problem is that, and you can see this from when you see high-profile people using drugs, celebrities and high-profile politicians and so on, using drugs is not inherently dangerous.
“Many celebrities and rich people use them, some well-known politicians have used drugs, so using drugs is not inherently dangerous, but using drugs becomes dangerous when the drugs are illegal because you can’t get them safely.”
Scottish Conservatives Shadow Minister for Public Health Sue Webber labelled Slater’s remarks “astoundingly reckless”.
She also said: “For a Government Minister to publicly say that drug use ‘isn’t inherently dangerous’, when Scotland has the highest drug-death figures in Europe, defies belief.”
dangerous, naïve and stupid
CEO of drugs campaign group Favor UK, Annemarie Ward, called Slater’s comments “dangerous, naïve and stupid”.
In September, Scotland’s most senior lawyer Dorothy Bain QC told Holyrood that “simple possession” of dangerous drugs such as cocaine and heroin should no longer be treated as a serious criminal offence.