Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today warned that the SNP must not ignore criticisms from doctors after the British Medical Association attacked ministers over their failure to restore drug and alcohol services funding in the 2017/18 budget.
The criticisms, in a submission to Holyrood’s health committee, come just a month after it was revealed that drug related deaths rose in 2016 to a new high of 827. Scotland has one of the worst drug death rates in Europe, and around two-and-a-half times that of the UK as a whole.
Commenting Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
“The Scottish Government slashed funding to drug and alcohol partnerships by more than 20% and we have recently seen the true cost of that cut. Each death has been an utter tragedy.
"Though a boost in funding was announced last week this submission offers further evidence that the original SNP cuts were completely the wrong decision to take. The SNP cannot ignore these criticisms from BMA.
“Drug and alcohol services are best placed to intervene to help prevent more lives from being lost. That’s why Scottish Liberal Democrats have consistently called for the restoration of funding to drug and alcohol services, and reform the current failing 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 criminals producing and dealing drugs.”