A Scottish Conservative MSP has warned that the impact of illegal drugs is being felt in communities across his region.
Highlands and Islands MSP Jamie Halcro Johnston made his comments after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon admitted the drugs epidemic afflicting Scotland, which cost 1,264 lives in 2019, was “our worst shame” and a “disgrace”.
Mr Halcro Johnston said: “No-one should think that drugs are only a problem in the Central Belt. It’s an issue that impacts families and communities across the Highlands and Islands."
“The tragic fact is that drugs misuse has long since spread across the region, with the estimated number of problem drug-users now over 2,000."
“And, of course, it’s not just the users that are affected. It can have a devastating impact on their families, while the anti-social behaviour which is all too often linked with drug dealing and drug use can make the lives of neighbours a nightmare and blights communities."
“While I welcome the SNP Government’s belated acceptance that they should have done more to address Scotland’s home-grown drugs pandemic – and that they have acted on Scottish Conservative calls for increased rehabilitation services – it is shameful that the Scottish Government cut services in the first place and have allowed things to deteriorate to this tragic point after nearly 14 years in power."
“Nicola Sturgeon is right when she describes the levels of drugs misuse as a “national disgrace”. But it is one which has been allowed to get worse on her watch."
“We now have to make sure that the resources are in place – and in place across Scotland - to support users away from drugs, and that every effort is made to combat the scourge of drugs misuse in the Highlands and Islands”.