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Scottish Government Urges UK Government to Decriminalize Drugs for Personal Use

todayJuly 7, 2023 15

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Scottish Government Urges UK Government to Decriminalize Drugs for Personal Use

The Scottish Government is calling on the UK Government to support the decriminalization of personal-use drugs, as part of its proposed “health-led” approach to drug policies in the country.

In a policy review outlining its intentions in the event of further devolution or independence, the Scottish Government proposed the decriminalization of drugs for personal use. They also called for legislative changes to allow drug consumption facilities and supervised drug programs.

Currently, drug laws in Scotland are determined by Westminster, preventing the devolved parliament from implementing any decriminalization measures without UK Government approval, despite Scotland’s responsibility for health and social aspects related to drug use.

Elena Whitham, Scotland’s Minister for Drug Policy, stated during a press conference that the Scottish Government aims to adopt a harm-reduction approach to drug policy. They seek to treat problematic drug use as a health issue, rather than a criminal matter, reducing stigma, promoting recovery, and facilitating positive contributions to society.

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While acknowledging that these proposals will spark debate, Whitham emphasized that they are aligned with the Scottish Government’s public health approach and its mission to improve and save lives.

In 2019, the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) officially endorsed decriminalization. This policy has led to disagreements between the Scottish Government and Westminster, with the Home Office rejecting a trial for “safe consumption rooms” in Glasgow.

Scotland recorded 1,330 drug-related deaths in 2022, the highest number in Europe. As a result, the Scottish Government has invested £250 million in drug recovery programs.

In 2021, the Scottish Government revised its policing policy regarding drugs, resulting in warnings instead of prosecutions for those caught with substances for personal use. This change was seen by some as a form of de facto decriminalization.

Whitham noted that these proposed policies could be implemented by the Scottish Government if granted further devolved powers or through independence. She urged the UK Government to consider amending drug laws, stating that Scotland needs a compassionate and human rights-informed drugs policy focused on public health and harm reduction.

A spokesperson for UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak stated that there are currently no plans to change the UK Government’s tough stance on drugs.

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Written by: Artificial Intelligence Technology

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