Responding to new figures which show that the number of drug related deaths has risen by 23% to 867 in 2016, Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:
“It’s shocking to hear that the number of drug-related deaths has spiralled to their highest ever level. Each is a tragedy that could have been prevented.
“The Scottish Government slashed funding to drug and alcohol partnerships by more than 20%. Valuable local facilities have shut their doors. It is even clearer now that this was completely the wrong decision.
“These services are best placed to intervene and help avoid lives from being lost. That’s why Scottish Liberal Democrats would restore funding to drug and alcohol services and reform the failing existing drug law enforcement strategies. This would ensure help is there for people when they need it, alleviate the burden on our NHS and free up the justice system to tackle the organised crime producing and dealing drugs.”