Shocking statistic! Tom Harwood slams failing Sturgeon lacking action on drug deaths

Sturgeon: Harwood criticises 'inaction' on Scotland drug deaths

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Speaking on Wednesday, Tom Harwood explained how Scottish politicians are simply not doing enough to tackle the country’s spiraling drugs epidemic. He slammed drugs minister Angela Constance for “promising to review” drug laws and services in Scotland but hit out at her and the SNP for “lacking” in “actual action” to combat spiraling drugs deaths. It comes as latest figures from Scotland show 1,339 individuals lost their lives to drugs in 2020 alone, the highest figure in Europe. While Nicola Sturgeon has said the stats are “indefensible”.

Mr Harwood said: “Last week figures were released that showed that we had the highest number of drugs deaths on record in Scotland.”

That is 1,339 drugs last year alone, four times the rate of England and the highest drug death rate in Europe.”

He slammed: “It is a really quite shocking statistic!”

The political correspondent went on to say how Scotland’s drug’s minister Angela Constance “stood up before the Scottish parliament to say that a new rehabilitation centre was opened”.

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But he was not convinced by the minister’s promises.

He said how Ms Constance went on to “promise a lot of reviews, to review whether drug and alcohol services would beincluded in Scotland’s new national care service.

“To review what the impact of street valium is.”

But Mr Hardwood hit out, saying: “There were a lot of promises into looking into the problem but I think that one of the big criticisms is that when it came to actual action, that was lacking!

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His comments come as opposition parties in Holyrood say cuts to drug rehab and addiction programmes by the SNP government played a big part in the upward trend.

Following the publication of the statistics Ms Sturgeon admitted they were a “human tragedy” and that the number of deaths was “indefensible” and “a national disgrace”.

Opiates such as heroin and methadone were implicated in 1,192 deaths while benzodiazepines such as diazepam and etizolam were implicated in 974.

Of the drugs deaths, 93 percent were reported as a result of accidental overdoses while four percent were considered deliberate self-poisoning. Just one percent of deaths were as a result of long-term drug abuse, while two percent were undetermined.

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Ms Sturgeon said: “The Scottish Government does not shirk the responsibility and we are determined to make changes that will save lives. These 2020 figures (though no less shameful because of it) predate actions set out at the start of year.

“We now have a dedicated drugs minister in Angela Constance, a substantial funding commitment and action underway, for example, to ensure faster access to community support, treatment and rehab. 

“We will also continue to argue for reform of drugs law, which is not currently within our power.”

The Scottish Government said that any statement would be made by Drugs Policy Minister Angela Constance, rather than the First Minister.

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