SNP demands ALL drugs are decriminalised for personal use

SNP demands ALL drugs are decriminalised for personal use saying addiction is a ‘health’ issue not a matter for the courts

Downing Street today dismissed demands from Scottish ministers for the decriminalisation of all drugs for personal use.

A new policy paper has urged the UK to loosen laws or give Holyrood more powers over the system north of the border.

The SNP has come under heavy fire over its failure to tackle drugs issues in Scotland, with the death rate the worst in Europe.

But the latest proposals argue that decriminalising possession for personal use would allow addiction to be treated as a ‘health’ issue rather than a matter for the courts.

They also suggest people in recovery would have a better chance of getting jobs without criminal records.

However, Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman gave the push short shrift. ‘Whilst I haven’t seen those reports I think I’m confident enough to say that there are no plans to alter our tough stance on drugs,’ the spokesman said. 

Scottish ministers have demanded the decriminalisation of all drugs for personal use (file picture)

Humza Yousaf has been struggling to stem a slump in support for the SNP and independence

The document outlined measures which could be implemented through further devolution, independence, or UK Government action.

It suggested this would allow Scotland to push ahead with initiatives such as supervised drug consumption facilities.

The paper back updating the drug classification system based on harms caused. 

The idea of a ‘regulated’ market for drugs supply is also floated, although it stresses Scottish ministers do not currently ‘advocate’ the policy. 

‘While we do not currently advocate for this policy, implementing a more evidence-based approach to drugs policy could be the basis for considering the potential of introducing regulated markets for the reduction of harm and the safe control of substances,’ the paper said. 

‘This could be supported by a Citizens’ Assembly to consider the evidence and give a perspective from a representative sample of the public. 

‘This would enable a mature, informed conversation about the level of regulation and control that we as a society are comfortable with for substances, based on an expert assessment of their relative harms.’ 

Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman gave the SNP’s push short shrift, saying the government would maintain its ‘tough stance’ against drugs

Scotland’s Drugs Policy minister Elena Whitham said the proposals could ‘save lives’. 

‘We want to create a society where problematic drug use is treated as a health, not a criminal matter, reducing stigma and discrimination and enabling the person to recover and contribute positively to society,’ she said.

‘While we know these proposals will spark debate, they are in line with our public health approach and would further our national mission to improve and save lives.

‘We are working hard within the powers we have to reduce drug deaths, and while there is more we need to do, our approach is simply at odds with the Westminster legislation we must operate within.’

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