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‘Surprise and disappointment’ at UK drug response

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A cross-party group of MPs has accused the UK authorities of the just about “wholesale rejection” of strikes to sort out Scotland’s file drug deaths.

It comes after the Scottish Affairs Committee printed a report in November calling for a radical re-think of present medication coverage.

Their suggestions included decriminalising medication for private use and backing consumption rooms.

However, the UK authorities has rejected many of the suggestions.

They embody calls to declare Scotland’s file drug deaths – 1,187 in 2018 – a public well being emergency.

The UK authorities additionally mentioned a advice to reform the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act and decriminalise medication for private use wouldn’t “eliminate the crime committed by the illicit trade, nor would it address the harms associated with drug dependence”.

They added: “There is a strong link between drugs and crime, which is why we reject the assertion that the Department for Health and Social Care should lead on drug misuse. We know that people who regularly use heroin, cocaine or crack cocaine are estimated to commit around 45% of all acquisitive crime.”

Since 2008 the Scottish authorities has handled drug misuse as a well being situation relatively than a legal justice situation.

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Peter Krykant mentioned he hoped the drug consumption van would lower down on overdoses

On the thought of consumption rooms, the UK authorities responded that: “We want to do all we can to stop people having access to drugs that could ultimately kill them. No illegal drug-taking can be assumed to be safe and there is no safe way to take them.”

They added: “Our approach on drugs remains clear – we must prevent drug use in our communities, support people through treatment and recovery, and tackle the supply of illegal drugs.”

What are protected drug consumption amenities?

Glasgow City Council has proposed permitting customers to take their very own medication beneath the supervision of medical workers at a particular facility within the metropolis, however the concept has been blocked by the Home Office.

Sometimes dubbed “fix rooms”, the goal can be to encourage customers who inject heroin or cocaine on Glasgow’s streets to enter a protected and clear surroundings.

It was hoped the scheme would encourage addicts into remedy, lower down on heroin needles on metropolis streets and counter the unfold of illnesses comparable to HIV.

Last week, a recovering heroin addict launched a drug consumption van in Glasgow regardless of warnings it may break the regulation.

Peter Krykant mentioned he hoped it will forestall overdoses and blood-borne viruses amongst drug customers.

Image caption

The committee known as for Scotland’s medication disaster to be tackled as a public well being situation

The cross-party committee at the moment includes chairman, SNP MP Pete Wishart, and consists of 5 Conservatives, two Labour members, two Lib Dems and two different SNP MPs.

Mr Wishart mentioned this report, which was labored on by the committee when its membership was made up of MPs from the final parliament, was based mostly on one of the crucial “extensive drugs inquiries in Scotland ever conducted”.

Following the federal government’s response to the report, he mentioned: “We are surprised and disappointed by the government’s almost wholesale rejection of recommendations by a Westminster Select Committee after collecting a substantial body of evidence from people with lived experience, charities and academics, as well as legal, criminal justice and health professionals…few of these will find comfort in this response.”

He additionally accused the federal government of offering little proof to help its stance and known as for what proof there was to be made out there following of a drug summit in February.

He added: “What is evident is there’s little change in the government’s drugs strategy despite the death rate in Scotland from problem drug use remaining stubbornly higher than any country in Europe.

“This reality itself ought to exhibit that the present strategy is not working. This is undoubtedly a public well being emergency.”

The governments’ views

All UK drugs misuse legislation is currently reserved to Westminster.

A spokesman for the Home Office said it was committed to preventing drug use, supporting people through treatment and recovery and tackling the supply of illegal drugs.

“We don’t have any plans to introduce drug consumption rooms or decriminalise medication. Illegal medication devastate lives and communities, and sellers ought to face the total penalties of the regulation,” he added.

“We are dedicated to tackling drug misuse and held a UK-wide medication summit in Glasgow earlier this yr to debate essentially the most impact methods to sort out drug misuse and their horrible impression throughout Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland.”

The Scottish government has said it welcomes support for the introduction of a safe drugs consumption room in Glasgow as part of efforts to reduce deaths there.

A spokeswoman said when the report was published in November: “The outdated Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 must be amended to permit us to implement a variety of public well being targeted responses, together with the introduction of protected consumption amenities in Glasgow.

“We call on the incoming UK government to amend the Act or to devolve those powers to Scotland.”

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