Cross-party MSPs launch petition seeking new approach for policing drugs
Lothian list MSP Neil Findlay and Edinburgh Western MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton helped launch a landmark petition to push the Scottish and UK Governments to reconsider their approach to how drug use is policed in Scotland.
The petition was collectively launched by a cross-party group of MSPs, with Mr Cole-Hamilton representing the Liberal Democrats and Mr Findlay representing Labour, joined by Highlands and Islands list MSP John Finnie of the Greens and Airdrie and Shotts MSP Alex Neil of the SNP.
The four MSPs decided to push for action following the recent announcement that Scotland has the EU’s highest rate of drug deaths.
Mr Findlay said: “The petition calls for the governments of Scotland and the UK to take an evidence based approach to what is now a public health crisis, including the radical step of considering decriminalisation of certain drugs.
“Portugal decriminalised personal possession of drugs in 2001 and implemented a major harm reduction and public health programme. Drug deaths subsequently fell from more than 1000 a year to around 50.
“We cannot arrest our way to a drug-free society. We have to deal with this crisis as a public health problem, pretending it will go away with tougher sentences and a harsher regime for those caught in possession is fanciful and delusional thinking.
“As a cross party group of MSPs we are calling on both governments to change course, before it is too late.”