Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP today said that treating drug addiction as a health issue is vital to helping users stabilise their lives.
Mr Cole-Hamilton was speaking after the publication of a report from The Royal Society for Public Health and the Faculty of Public Health which called for the possession and personal use of drugs to be decriminalised.
Figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats earlier this year showed 1,000 people found in possession of drugs for personal use have been imprisoned in the last five years instead of being sent for treatment or education.
Commenting, Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
"At present our drug policy is not helping enough users kick their habits. Criminalising users and putting them in and out of prison will not help them get healthy.
“With the Scottish Government slashing funding for drug and alcohol services by 20% for 2016/17 it is vital that we concentrate on rehabilitation so that those affected by drugs have a real chance to turn their lives around and contribute to the community.
"Drug misuse blights communities and is tearing families apart. It is time that we treated drug addiction as the health issue that it is."