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Health and Social Care Committee Chair comments on Scottish Affairs Committee report on drugs policy

4 November 2019

The Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee comments on the Scottish Affairs Committee report on problem drug use in Scotland.

Chair's comments

Dr Sarah Wollaston, Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee said:

"I welcome this report from the Scottish Affairs Committee, which echoes many of the findings of the Health and Social Care Committee's own report, which we published just two weeks ago.

Like us, the Scottish Affairs Committee has found that problem drug use has reached the level of a public health emergency. A radical approach to drug policy is needed to tackle that emergency, and I am delighted to see that the Scottish Affairs Committee has reached the same conclusion as we did, that responsibility for drugs policy should be transferred from the Home Office to the Department of Health and Social Care.

The Committee also echoes our conclusion that an evidence-based, harm reduction approach should be taken to drug policy. That should include the decriminalisation of the possession of small quantities of drugs for personal use. 

Members of the Scottish Affairs Committee accompanied us on our visit to Frankfurt and Lisbon to see how the authorities in those two places have successfully tackled problem drug use.  In their recommendations on safe consumption facilities, the Committee recognises like we did that drug consumption rooms and decriminalisation are only part of a successful approach to tackling the problem of drugs. There needs to be a radical upgrade in treatment and holistic care for those who are dependent on drugs and this should begin without delay."

Further information

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