Call for cross-party summit to tackle Scottish drug crisis

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Central Scotland list MSP Margaret Mitchell is supporting calls for a cross-party summit on Scotland’s drug emergency after it was revealed the country’s death rate is the highest in the developed world.

The Scottish Conservatives want the UK Government to attend the summit to ensure both Scotland’s governments and all opposition parties are involved in debating action to combat the crisis.

The party’s strategy calls for Ministers to set a clear target to halve the number of drug deaths in Scotland over the next five years and increase the number of drug users accessing treatment to 60 per cent.

It comes after the release of drug figures showed a total of 1187 deaths in 2018 in Scotland – up 27 per cent from the previous year.

More than half of all deaths involved so-called “street drugs” like painkillers and Valium, a rise of 43 per cent.

Mrs Mitchell said: “With 1187 of our fellow Scots losing their lives to addiction last year the need for cross-party and inter-governmental discussions to find solutions is critical.

“This is a crisis that spans political divides, so we would hope both Scottish and UK Governments are involved.

“The Scottish Conservatives have been warning ministers about the growing opioid crisis for some time. The situation in Scotland today is at crisis point.

“What’s now vital is that all parties make this national emergency a national priority. We can and must rise to the challenge.”