Scottish Liberal Democrats will this week use a debate on Scotland's drugs deaths crisis to urge the new Lord Advocate to prioritise the prevention of drug deaths through new guidance to pave the way for more people misusing drugs to get the treatment and support they need, instead of a destructive experience of the criminal justice system.
Scottish Liberal Democrats have set out their intention to table an amendment later this week in a bid to secure fresh legal guidance.
It would build on the landmark unanimous cross-party agreement secured by Scottish Liberal Democrats in the final days of the last Parliament to "work towards diverting people caught in possession of drugs or personal use into treatment and ceasing imprisonment in these cases".
Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP commented:
"Senior police officers have spoken movingly about seeing people misusing drugs lose their lives. They know better than anyone that police stations and prisons are not where these vulnerable people should be.
"We've found that hundreds of people still get sent to prison every year for possession for personal use.
"Parliament agreed to the principle of decriminalisation in March in what was a landmark vote won by Scottish Liberal Democrats. I want to see the new Lord Advocate get to work straight away on how that could be done.
"Fresh guidance could prevent drug deaths by paving the way for more people misusing drugs to get the treatment and support they need, instead of a destructive experience of the criminal justice system.
"The way to reduce the misery of drug abuse is through compassion and health treatment, not imprisonment. Preservation of life must be the priority every step of the way."