Cole-Hamilton calls for an end to the destructive carousel of pointless drug prosecutions

Speaking in this afternoon's Scottish Parliament debate on Drug Related Deaths, Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton stressed the importance of trauma informed care when dealing with addiction and its treatment.

During the debate, Scottish Liberal Democrats secured an amendment to confirm parliament’s support for strengthened guidance from the Lord Advocate on the issue of diversion from prosecution.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

“Liberal Democrats have had an evidence-based approach to drug policy for years. We called for decriminalisation of drug use long before any other party in this chamber, and the case of Portugal is just one example of its effectiveness. 

“Trauma informed care should be at the heart of every aspect of recovery from drug addiction, because there is an undeniable correlation between adverse childhood experiences and drug misuse. 

“We have to reduce the misery of drug abuse with compassion and health treatment, rather than prosecution. Because we’re still sending the same number of people to prison for personal possession as we were a decade ago.  

“The current system is just like an endless, destructive carousel with pointless prosecutions that only cause more harm. It needs to be stopped.”

The Scottish Liberal Democrat amendment agreed by parliament reads as follows:

As an amendment to motion S6M-00400 in the name of Angela Constance (Tackling Drug Related Deaths), insert at end "; notes the recommendation made by Sir Harry Burns to routinely record adverse childhood experiences, and believes that all aspects of recovery and treatment should be trauma-informed; understands that guidance has previously been issued by the Lord Advocate to police officers relating to the use of recorded police warnings in certain cases of minor offending; would support a new Lord Advocate reviewing this guidance and examining how it can be strengthened, in light of the resolution on the Parliament on motion S5M-24396 on 18 March 2021 and the support expressed for working towards diverting people caught in possession of drugs for personal use into treatment, and believes that a parliamentary statement after the summer recess from the new Lord Advocate on the principles and practicalities of diversion would be beneficial in informing public debate and the response of authorities to Scotland's drugs deaths crisis."

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