Problem drug use: Scottish Affairs Committee holds round table discussion to hear views on Government’s response
25 September 2020
The Scottish Affairs Committee has held a round table discussion to seek views on the Government's response to the previous Committee’s report on drug use in Scotland from a range of sectors including academia, healthcare, law enforcement, charity and service delivery.
This report was published in November 2019, following an inquiry by the previous Committee in the 2017-2019 Parliament. The Government responded in early September, rejecting most of the Committee's proposals. Tackling the issue had been fraught by public disagreement between UK and Scottish Governments over their divergent approaches and overlapping responsibilities. The inquiry, which reported in November 2019, provided an set of policy recommendations for how the UK Government could adopt a more effective approach.
It concluded that innovative approaches were needed to address the root causes of problem drug use. It recommended that problem drug use should be treated as a public health issue with cross-departmental support, for the decriminalisation of small amounts of drugs for personal use, and the opening of a pilot safe consumption room in Glasgow. The Government rejected all of these proposals. Today’s discussion focused on these key areas. For more detail see note below.
Committee Chair Pete Wishart said:
"Many stakeholders were deeply disappointed in the Government's response. Covid-19 has created immense additional challenges but also opportunities for tackling problem drug use in Scotland.
The drugs crisis is as pressing as ever and with many missed opportunities, there are still a raft of areas where further action can be taken. Discussions with organisations with such a wide range of expertise will be invaluable in helping to inform any work which we do on these pressing issues in future."