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Green MSP Ariane Burgess welcomes new police guidance over Class A drugs


By John Davidson

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Ariane Burgess believes the new guidance can help tackle the high number of drug deaths in Scotland.
Ariane Burgess believes the new guidance can help tackle the high number of drug deaths in Scotland.

Highlands and Islands MSP Ariane Burgess has welcomed new guidance that means people with Class A drugs will not automatically be arrested.

The Green MSP was reacting to the Lord Advocate's statement to parliament this week, when Dorothy Bain QC said that recorded police warning guidelines would be updated to apply to all drugs.

There were 33 drug deaths in Highland in 2020 and Ms Burgess has said that this move away from criminalising drug use could play an important role in reducing that number in the years ahead.

She said: “There were a record 1339 drug-related deaths recorded in 2020, including 33 in Highland. 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.”



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