Commenting on the publication of the final report from the Drug Deaths Taskforce, Drugs Policy Minister Angela Constance said:
“I welcome this final report from the Drug Deaths Taskforce and I want to thank the Chair David Strang, Vice-Chair Fiona McQueen and every single member for their considerable commitment to producing these recommendations all of which we will consider in detail and respond to in due course.
“The Taskforce was established to provide expert advice on the emergency response to rising drug-related deaths in Scotland.
“Many of the recommendations proposed in previous reports have already been implemented including measures to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and the expansion of the police naloxone pilot.
“Others, such as safer drug consumption facilities, drug checking facilities, ending Friday liberations and Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) standards, are already being progressed.
“Of course there are areas where we want to go far further and today’s recommendations will be central to delivering that.
“We have announced £1.1m of new investment into public health surveillance projects to improve our real-time understanding of harms so we can improve our response.
“A target has been set to increase the number of people in protective treatment for problematic drug use and we are working closely with Integration Authorities on accountability and transparency – recently approving a new governance framework with COSLA which will improve the effectiveness of Alcohol and Drug Partnerships in advance of more ambitious reforms under the new National Care Service.
“Fragmentation of service delivery is in no-ones interest, and particularly so for a group as vulnerable as people who are struggling with drug dependency.
“We will be focusing on ensuring that all services treat people who use drugs with the same respect and compassion as would be expected for any other health condition.
“With the backing of an additional £250 million over the course of this parliament, we are now focussed on delivery and change on the ground, to provide meaningful improvement in people’s lives.
“This will be overseen by the National Drugs Mission Oversight Group which will support the national mission to reduce drug-related deaths and improve lives by providing scrutiny, challenge and advice to the Scottish Government and the wider sector.
“It will bring together leaders from a range of organisations and backgrounds, including international experts, those with lived and living experience, clinicians, academics, the third sector and local government and those with experience of working on the Taskforce to monitor the implementation of their final recommendations.”