Scotland calls on UK government to make drug possession for personal use legal
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The Scottish government is asking the UK government to make possession of drugs for personal use legal.
The proposed change, outlined in a new paper on drug law reform, would mean that those found with drugs on them to be treated and supported rather than criminalised and excluded from society.
Essentially, it would mean the decriminalisation of all drugs for personal use, although laws would still be in place for anyone supplying, dealing, or trafficking drugs.
The paper also outlines the government’s desire to introduce supervised drug consumption facilities, but as it stands all drug laws are reserved for the Westminster government rather than the devolved government at Holyrood.
The government - led by the SNP - also wants to introduce more drug checking services to try to stop unsafe drugs being consumed, as well as increasing access to emergency treatments for people who experience drug overdoses.
Announcing the new proposed policies, Scotland’s Drugs Policy Minister Elena Whitham said: "We want to create a society where problematic drug use is treated as a health, not a criminal matter, reducing stigma and discrimination and enabling the person to recover and contribute positively to society.
"While we know these proposals will spark debate, they are in line with our public health approach and would further our national mission to improve and save lives."
It is not yet known what the UK government’s reaction to the proposal will be, but the Home Office has previously stated that there are no plans to decriminalise drug use.
The government has also previously stated that it is against drug consumption rooms, preferring a harder stance on drugs than being suggested by their Scottish counterparts.
Scotland has some of the worst figures in Europe for drugs related deaths, and has experienced year upon year increases in the record number of fatal overdoses.
The country has invested £250 million into addiction services in recent times in an attempt to get on top of those figures and reverse the trend.