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SNP formally backs decriminalisation of drugs

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The SNP has backed decriminalising the possession and consumption of drugs.

At its conference in Aberdeen, a resolution was unanimously passed by delegates branding current drug control legislation “not fit for purpose”.

And they called for powers to be devolved to Holyrood to enable the “decriminalisation of possession and consumption of controlled drugs”.

The Scottish government has set up a taskforce to tackle drug deaths, which hit a record high in 2018.

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There were 1,187 drug-related deaths in Scotland in 2018, by far the highest death rate in the European Union and three times that of the UK as a whole.

Existing drugs legislation – covered by the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 – is reserved to Westminster.

This has led to a standoff between the two governments over policy, with the Home Office refusing to give permission for a trial of “safe consumption rooms” for drugs in Glasgow.

The SNP has repeatedly called for drugs control to be devolved to Holyrood, and the party’s official policy is now to use these powers – if they are ever handed to Holyrood – to decriminalise drugs.

A motion unanimously passed by delegates said decriminalising “consumption and possession of controlled drugs” would mean “health services are not prevented from giving treatment to those that need it”.


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