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John Finnie Calls For A Radical Overhaul of Drug Misuse Strategy

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John Finnie MSP, Scottish Green Party

Local MSP John Finnie, Scottish Greens, who is also the Co-Convenor of the Cross Party Group on Drug and Alcohol Misuse, in the Scottish Parliament has spoken about the unacceptable level of drug related deaths.

A new approach has been  announced by the Scottish Government for drug and alcohol treatment . The Substance Misuse Treatment Strategy will recognise the many shared underlying causes and similarities in treatment services.The combined approach to be published in the Spring will focus more on the individual’s needs.

 Aileen Campbell, Health Minister in the Scottish Government said:

“Treatment can no longer just be clinical, but must also address some of the deep rooted social and economic circumstances that people face. It is fundamental that we join the dots better and ensure addiction services address issues such as social isolation and stigma that remain major barriers to recovery.

“This renewed approach, and the introduction of minimum unit pricing show the range of measures we’re taking to address addictions that devastate lives and communities. Our commitment in the Programme for Government will mean £60 million for alcohol and drug treatment over the remaining lifetime of this Parliament to transform services and ensure they are focused on the patient, rather than the addiction.”

John Finnie highlighted figures from the Scottish Drugs Forum,  of an outbreak of HIV in Glasgow with 105 cases identified as of October, with a number of these cases having hepatitis C co-infection – an issue across Scotland.

He also referred to the closure of the busiest sterile injection equipment supply facility in Scotland, at Glasgow’s Central Station, which has led to a significant reduction in the number of clients accessing such equipment.

Commenting on the announcement by the Scottish Government John Finnie said:

“ The Scottish Government must accept that rather than a refresh of something which is obviously failing, a radical overhaul – including looking at decriminalisation – is required if we are to seriously address this issue.”

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