Scottish Greens Highlands and Islands MSP Ariane Burgess (pictured) has warmly welcomed new guidance published by the Lord Advocate this week which means police can issue recorded warnings for possession of Class A drugs instead of automatically leading to arrest.
In a statement to parliament on Wednesday Lord Advocate Dorothy Bain QC said that recorded police warning guidelines would be updated to apply to all drugs.
There were 69 drug deaths across the Highlands and Islands Region in 2020 and Ariane Burgess MSP has said that this move away from criminalising drug use could play an important role in reducing that number in the years ahead.
Ariane Burgess MSP said:
“There were a record 1,339 drug related deaths recorded in 2020, including 69 in the Highlands and Islands Region.
“It’s clear that the war on drugs has failed and that this change of approach is needed.
“Given Scotland’s worryingly high drug deaths rate, it’s important that we move to a harm reduction approach, rather than a continued focus on criminalisation, and this move by the Lord Advocate is an important step given the limited powers Scotland has to address the issue.
“Despite the fact much drug policy is reserved to Westminster, I hope we can go further and find ways to make safe consumption spaces possible, ensuring that trained healthcare staff are available to support drug users.
“This could be another important step in tackling Scotland’s worryingly high drug death rates.”