Scotland named as drug crime capital of the world

The rate of drug-related crime in Scotland was six times that of the global average in 2006, making it the drug crime capital of the world, a UN report has revealed.

The nation topped the list with Iran in second place and the USA fourth.

Critics have labelled Scotland’s efforts to combat its drug problem “hopeless”.

According to the UN study there were 656 drug related crimes per 100,000 people in 2006 in Scotland.

That figure is more than double the rate of drug related crime in England and Wales in the same year.

The Scottish Daily Mail slammed the findings.

In an editorial the paper said: “Under both Labour and the SNP, Scottish drugs policy has been a disaster.

“Scotland has more than 50,000 problem drugs users, more than half of whom are on a methadone programme.

“This is not a therapy; it is state-sponsored drug abuse and a huge waste of taxpayers’ money.

“All it does is contain the problem and trap users in a ruinous cycle of dependency.”

The editorial concluded: “Ultimately, we need a wholesale revision of drugs policy, from police to the judiciary, doctors, social workers and schools, driven by a determination to tackle the problem from the ground up.

“We can only hope this damning UN report will be the catalyst for Alex Salmond and his ministers to act. Urgently.”

Former Director of Scotland Against Drugs, Alistair Ramsay, said the report should act as a “wake-up call” to the Government.

He added: “The fact is the way drugs are tackled needs a radical shake-up. We need a proper, co-ordinated strategy.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said record amounts of money were being invested in justice.

Yet its ‘harm reduction’ drugs strategy has come under fierce attack recently.

Harm reduction does not advocate abstaining completely from drugs but rather seeks to limit their damage.

Earlier this month Professor Neil McKeganey said Scottish drug addicts who receive methadone as a heroin substitute but are still hooked on the harder drug are proof the system is failing them.

Prof McKeganey said it is clear “that the system itself is addicted to supplying methadone to heroin addicts”.

In 2008 it was reported that there were more deaths in the Lothian region of Scotland linked to methadone than to heroin.

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