Douglas Ross slams Sturgeon over SNP’s drug laws
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Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross has slammed Nicola Sturgeon’s drug laws, asking whether theFirst Minister would listen to “the experts and grieving families” as he told a moving story of a woman who lost her brother to drugs abuse. The slamming came after Scotland changed guidance on how to handle “simple possession offences” via a recorded warning. The changes have sparked outrage in the nation, which has the worst drug overdose records across the whole of Europe.
Speaking on First Minister Questions, Douglas Ross said: “Vicki has lost two brothers to drugs. She lost Stuart just last year, he was a father of twins.
“Vicki is backing our proposals.”
He went on: “She can’t know for sure that it would have saved Stuart, but she told us ‘if we had this bill. I wonder how many people would still be here.’
“The First Minister was absolutely right to see that we have to move forward at peace.
“So will she listened to the experts and grieving families?
“And the proposals we’re bringing forward can ensure that that is urgent parliamentary time given to consider the proposals on such an urgent issue.”
Nicola Sturgeon said: “I am genuinely, and I think Douglas Ross has accepted this – I’m genuinely trying not to make this exchange a politically divisive one because I think we all agree, we perhaps don’t agree on all the details.
“We certainly don’t necessarily agree on all of the background to this but I think we do agree that this parliament and I certainly accept that this government has got much work to do.
“Let me try and make some progress here. I can’t agree to vote for a bill that doesn’t yet exist because I don’t know what that bill in detail is going to see.
“But on the work and I only received the consultation this morning–I’ve had the chance to have a brief look at it. I will study in more detail, but if the broad proposals there translate into the general principles of a bill.
“I think it would be likely that we would want to give that bill a few went-through to Parliament to see whether on the detail we can reach consensus.”
Officers will now be advised to issue only a ‘recorded police warning’ to anyone they catch in possession of drugs, including Class A heroin and cocaine.
Drug deaths soared to a record high of 1,339 in Scotland last year, more than three and half times the rate for the rest of the UK.
Lord Advocate Bain dismissed suggestion the new guidance does not amount to decriminalisation but insisted there is “no one size fits all” response on how to tackle drug addiction.
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