Responding to the news that 1,264 people died of drug-related deaths in 2019, an increase of 6% and the highest number since records began, Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP stated:
"This news is tragic and will make for a difficult day for all those who lost a loved one last year. Lives are being lost on an unprecedented and unparalleled scale, and each of these people deserved better. There was nothing inevitable about their passing.
"Too often services simply aren't there, either through a lack of resources or a lack of political will. It shouldn't be left to ordinary people to take matters into their own hands and arrange the care, compassion and treatment others need.
"Scottish Liberal Democrats have been arguing that the existing law is not as black and white as the Scottish and UK Governments would both have us believe. Their policies have failed, but they can each act now. It is time Scotland learned from the lessons of other countries that have taken radical steps to reduce unnecessary and tragic drug-related deaths.
"Scottish Liberal Democrats have set out a clear, practical plan for how to turn this around, including protecting drug and alcohol partnership budgets from a repeat of the Scottish Government's 20% cut, sending people to treatment instead of prison, and establishing proposals for a Scotland-wide network for the provision of heroin-assisted treatment.”