Scottish Labour’s health spokeswoman has voiced her support for decriminalising drug possession.

Monica Lennon also backs safe consumption rooms as part of a strategy to tackle the scourge of drugs .

She said: “Decriminalising the possession of drugs and bringing in safe consumption rooms for people with substance dependency will make a difference.

“This shift needs to be backed up by community resources that help people to avoid substance misuse in the first place.

“Scotland’s drugs crisis requires a radical shift in policy and attitudes so that drug use is treated as a public health issue rather than a criminal act.”

The Record has recently published articles written by influential voices in the Scottish drugs policy debate. Several back moves to allow drugs to be used by individuals, while maintaining strict legal penalties on dealers.

Lennon’s straight-talking comes after Dave Liddell, boss of the Scottish Drugs Forum, laid down a similar line in the Record, insisting that drugs policy should be a health matter, rather than a criminal one.


Liddell believes there is a political consensus in Scotland for some form of decriminalisation.

Last week, his views were backed in the Record by drugs support charity Addaction’s director Andrew Horne.

The Scottish Affairs Committee is holding an inquiry into the number of drug deaths in Scotland.

Last week, four expert witnesses spoke in favour of measures like decriminalising drug possession and safe consumption rooms.

The Scottish Government’s health minister Joe FitzPatrick recently demanded in the Record that the UK Government passes down power for Scotland to implement such schemes, which would make some form of decriminalisation of drug use inevitable.

The Record understands that Scottish Labour is very close to officially adopting decriminalisation of drug use and possession as an official policy, despite misgivings over the potential for losing electoral support.

Lennon said: “Drugs is one area where more devolved powers could make a positive difference in Scotland.

"But politicians at Holyrood also need to challenge bad decisions being made here now, like the closure of needle exchanges in Glasgow and cuts to local alcohol and drug services in recent years.

“Scottish Labour has been calling on the Scottish Government to declare a public health emergency because the death toll due to drugs and alcohol harm is devastating and we need more than the occasional bit of best practice to end the heartbreak that too many families are experiencing.”

The Daily Record's drugs series has been looking at how to tackle Scotland's growing crisis

Ged Killen, a member of the Scottish Affairs Committee, also supports decriminalisation.

The Scottish Labour and Co-operative MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West said: “This isn’t about making drugs more widespread, it’s about making them less widespread.

“We want to encourage people to get the right treatment they need to get off drugs.

“Removing the threat of criminalising people for what is an addiction would seem to me to be a sensible approach.”

The Scottish Affairs Committee inquiry is expected to report back with recommendations in the autumn.

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