We are seeing and hearing of real increases in drug misuse and drug abuse across Scotland, including in Highland as recent cases in Inverness and elsewhere have shown. That is why the Scottish Conservatives have been working to develop our new Drug Addiction Strategy: Life Plan, launched today, and available at http://www.scottishconservatives.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Scottish-Conservative-Addiction-Strategy-Life-Plan.pdf
A key part of the strategy is to call on the Scottish Government to undertake an independent review of the Methadone Programme and the £18 million we spend as a nation on it. In some cases it can help to stabilise problematic drug users, but simply "parking" people on methadone is not the solution.
In the strategy paper released by the Scottish Government this week there are no measurable targets set, a sad reflection of the inability of the SNP to meet any of the health targets it has set itself. The SNP has presided over a decade of failure in which the number of Scots dying from drug overdoses has doubled, and the numbers of people in Scotland with problematic use of opiates and/or benzodiazepines has gone up by nearly 10,000 to 61,500. It must change its failed policies or we will see drug overdose deaths hit over 1000 a year in Scotland.
Scotland, at 40%, is lagging behind the rest of the UK in getting problem users into treatment (60%), and some other European countries are doing even better, so there is no excuse for the failure of the SNP to get a grip of this issue.
The Scottish Conservatives want to see ambitious targets set and met: to reduce drug deaths by 50% in five years, and to exceed the UK rates (60%) of problem drug users accessing treatment by 2025.
Please contact your Scottish Conservative Councillors and MSPs with your feedback on the new strategy.