Responding to the statement from the Minister for Drug Policy, Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:
"1,339 people had their life cut short, their potential extinguished, decades before their time.
"Apologies are hard to accept because pleas were dismissed for years. I will never understand why ministers surrendered services and expertise by cutting Alcohol and Drug Partnershop budgets.
"The drug deaths crisis will be ended through compassion and treatment. But people gripped by drugs misuse are still regularly directed into the criminal justice system. 200 people a year are imprisoned for possession - unchanged in a decade. The police say it’s pointless and damages lives.
"In March, at the second time of our asking, the Scottish Government finally agreed to the principle of diversion and stopping imprisoning vulnerable people. Now, decriminalisation is under consideration by the Taskforce.
"The Scottish Government must ensure that people caught in possession for personal use are directed to health treatment, not sent to prison."