Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid has called on local MSPs to get behind the Scottish Conservative bill, which is supported by seven leading drugs organisations and would enshrine in law that everyone can access the treatment they need, including a residential rehabilitation place.
In 2020, deaths from drug misuse rose to 1,339 and means the drug death rate is now more than three-and-a-half times that of England and Wales.
Latest figures showed a record increase for the seventh year in a row, with people in the most deprived areas of Scotland 18 times more likely to die from drugs use than in the most affluent.
In Aberdeenshire, drug deaths increased to 33 in 2020 compared with 17 in 2007 and 8 in 2014.
The statistics by the National Records of Scotland show the largest number of drug-related deaths since records began in 1996.
The number of drug-related deaths has increased substantially over the past 20 years and is now almost three times higher than it was a decade ago, with the upward trend accelerating since 2013.
Opposition parties say cuts to drug rehab and addiction programmes by the Scottish government have had a big part to play in the upward trend in the number of deaths in recent years.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has previously admitted that the number of deaths was “indefensible” and “a national disgrace”, and that her government had not done enough to tackle the problem.
Banff and Buchan MP David Duguid said:
Another year and another record from drug deaths in Scotland. It is tragic and simply unacceptable.
in Aberdeenshire, although figures are not as high as elsewhere in Scotland, this is still a huge increase and of course, any death is one too many.
Nicola Sturgeon admitted she took her ‘eye off the ball’ on drug deaths and it’s clear the impact that her Government’s cuts to drug addiction treatments has had.
Now it is time for MSPs and Nicola Sturgeon’s government to unite behind the Scottish Conservative’s Right to Recovery Bill and turn the tide against this national shame.
As we have seen with the COVID crisis, I believe this is another crisis that would be served by both of Scotland’s Governments working together.