Scottish Government announce extra cash to tackle drug deaths
The Scottish Government has committed £68m over the next three years to bring down the high level of drug-related deaths.
The funding includes an extra £12 million allocated to alcohol and drugs policy in the Scottish budget last month.
The cash includes £30m ringfenced funding for health boards to deliver enhanced services, £18m for crisis care services and £5.5m to support children and families impacted by drug use.
The details are included in the government’s respond to the Drugs Death Taskforce, which called for more resources in its final report last summer.
Drugs minister Angela Constance said: “This publication outlines our whole government commitment to addressing this challenge and ensuring that people with problem substance use can access all the services they need and are entitled to.”
According to the most recent statistics, 1,330 drug deaths were recorded in Scotland in 2021.
This was down just nine from the record-breaking number in 2020.
MSPs debated the response to the taskforce’s report at Holyrood on Thursday afternoon.
Conservative drugs spokeswoman Sue Webber said: “More needs to be done. There continues to be a gap between the warm words of the SNP on the drugs-death scandal and the reality of how little action they continue to take on the ground.”
She also urged the government to back Douglas Ross’s Right to Recovery Bill.
Labour’s public health spokesman Paul O’Kane said it was important to focus on actions that “make the most difference”.
He said: “There have been a myriad of reports – indeed 10 in two years – so we must ensure that reports and action plans don’t sit on shelves but they are backed by delivery and by supporting people in their lived experience.”
Holyrood provides comprehensive coverage of Scottish politics, offering award-winning reporting and analysis: Subscribe