Speaking after official statistics show there were 722 suspected drug deaths during the first half of 2021, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP commented:
“It is devastating to learn that 722 people had their life cut short by drugs in the first few months of this year alone. This will be a painful day for the hundreds of families for whom this news will feel all too raw.
“Every drug death is preventable. It is why there will never be any excuse for Nicola Sturgeon’s choice to ignore the warnings and press ahead with cutting budgets by 22%. It surrendered critical expertise and services as this emergency deepened. It cost lives, failed families and will forever be a scar on the conscience of this Scottish Government – one that can’t be healed by apologies.
“It is also why the very same SNP ministers now owe it to all these families to do everything possible to end the drugs deaths emergency. We urgently need specialist drug and alcohol commissions, drawing on international best practice including that from Portugal, and for people caught in possession to be diverted to treatment instead of being propelled towards prison.”