Murray politicians respond to drug-related death numbers in the Northeast

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MORAY’s politicians reacted to the new figures showing a Recent spike in suspected drug deaths in the Northeast.

Douglas Ross and Richard Lockheed reacted to the new numbers.
Douglas Ross and Richard Lockheed reacted to the new numbers.

MP for Moray Douglas Ross and MSP Richard Lochhead agreed that every drug-related death is a tragedy, but they disagreed about the Scottish government’s response.

A Scottish government report released yesterday (March 14) showed that deaths from suspected drugs tripled at the end of last year.

Based on Police Scotland data, the report also shows that the North East was the hardest hit area outside Glasgow, with 31 suspected drug-related deaths from October to December 2022, compared to 11 in the previous quarter.

Ross said the increase was the result of “Nicola Sturgeon taking her eye off the ball” and described the increase as showing the “brutal reality” of Scotland’s drug problem.

However, Mr Lochhead said that despite the recent increase, the national decline in drug deaths last year showed the Scottish governments approach was working.

He said: “My thoughts are with all the families who have lost loved ones to drugs and I want to extend my condolences to the affected families in the North East.

“Any increase in the number of drug-related deaths is of course very worrying and every drug-related death is a tragedy.

“The report does suggest that although there has been an increase in the last three months of the year, there has been a 16 per cent drop in drug-related deaths across Scotland compared to 2021 – although I estimate that wouldn’t give much comfort.” For affected families.

“We know the number of drug-related deaths in Scotland remains unacceptably high, and the Scottish Government is determined to continue investing in services to provide people with the right support so lives can be saved.”

While Mr Ross said: “Every death from drug use is a tragedy and my thoughts are with those who have grieved the loss of loved ones.

“It is deeply disturbing that so many people are still losing their lives to drugs in the North East and that is the brutal truth of Nicola Sturgeon taking her eyes off the ball.

“These numbers are simply unacceptable and show that the SNP is nowhere close to facing the drug-related death emergency in Scotland.

“This topic hardly deserves a mention in the SNP leadership contest so far which shows where their priorities lie.

“The new First Minister must finally join my Right to Refund Bill which has been supported by frontline experts and will give everyone in the North East who needs it, access to treatment.”

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