A summit bringing together experts, health professionals and decision-makers from across the UK is a “huge opportunity” to finally tackle the country’s drugs crisis, the Scottish Conservatives have said.
The UK Government confirmed today that the much-anticipated event will take place in Glasgow on Thursday, February 27.
It means, for the first time, politicians from Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland will discuss the issue alongside professionals such as recovery experts and police.
Last year, Scotland suffered a record number of drug-related deaths, considerably higher than everywhere else in the UK and Europe.
Scottish Conservative Glasgow MSP Adam Tomkins said:
“We’ve led from the front on this issue for many years, demanding action on rehabilitation and recovery, as well as help for communities blighted by this problem.
“It’s been the focus for our health teams, our justice teams, our education teams and our Glasgow MSPs.
“In contrast, the SNP government has been asleep at the wheel, preferring to use this most serious of issues as a constitutional football.
“This summit is a chance for the SNP government to put that right.”
Scottish Conservative Glasgow MSP and public health spokeswoman Annie Wells said:
“This is a huge opportunity for us to tackle the drugs crisis not just in Glasgow, but across the whole country.
“The death toll, especially north of the border, is a matter of public shame and huge tragedy for thousands upon thousands of families.
“But now we can get the very best people together and start initiating real change.
“We must put our political and constitutional differences aside and come up with solutions here – the public will not forgive us if we do not.
‘The UK Government is acting on drug deaths and, in the upcoming Scottish budget, we hope the Scottish Government will do the same and deliver £15.4m for drug rehabilitation beds.”