Commenting after former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill suggested the focus on winning the independence referendum may have deterred the SNP Government from pursuing drug policy reforms, Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP commented:
“Everybody knows the government took their eye off the ball during the independence referendum. The damaging legacy of that can be seen in our schools and our hospitals.
“Now the Justice Secretary from that time has suggested the SNP Government’s focus on winning the independence referendum deterred it from seeking the reform of drugs policy and taking action to prevent unnecessary deaths from drugs. If so, that is a horrifying indictment of the SNP’s priorities.
“Drug-related deaths are at their highest ever level and we are leagues behind our European partners and best practice in tackling this. The Scottish Government must use the powers at its disposal to restore funding to drug and alcohol services and reform drug law enforcement strategies. It is time both the Scottish and UK Governments adopted approaches that are in line with the mainstream medical and scientific evidence of what works.”