Seizures of hard drugs in Scotland have risen dramatically leading to calls for the Scottish Government to declare a public health emergency.
Nearly 120kg of heroin was confiscated by police in 2017-18, which is nearly double the previous year.
Labour said the Scottish Government should treat the problem as a public health emergency. Highlands and Islands MSP John Finnie renewed his calls for a public inquiry into drugs deaths.
The amount of heroin seized from dealers in 2017/18 came to 118.6kg more than double the 54.1kg found the year before. The number of heroin seizures increased from 815 to 826.
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Officers also took possession of 74.4kg of cocaine and a further 6.7kg of crack cocaine in 2017-18. The amount of cocaine seized decreased from 120.3kg the year before but the number of seizures increased from 488 to 543.
Around 25,400 ecstasy-type tablets were confiscated, an increase from 8,600 in 2016-17. But the number of seizures decreased from 150 to 143.
The 2017/18 figures covered the period up until the end of March last year. Since then police in Aberdeen made one of their biggest ever hauls, taking £1million worth of ecstasy off the city’s streets.
In December last year officers raided a property on Thomson Street in Rosemount and seized 45kg of the Class A drug.
Yesterday Labour’s justice spokesman Daniel Johnson said: “The government should treat the scale of the drug crisis in our communities as a public health emergency.”
North East Tory MSP Liam Kerr claimed the police’s efforts to get drugs off the streets were undermined by a “soft” justice system.
Mr Kerr said: “We have an SNP government which is far too soft on the issue of hard drugs and refuses to get tough on drug dealers.”
But Lib Dem health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton said the Scottish Government should make a commitment to stop sending people to prison for possession of drugs. He argued that they should receive treatment and education.
Mr Finnie said he has written to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon arguing a public inquiry is the best way of tackling Scotland’s drugs problems.
The Green MSP added: “There were over 900 drug deaths in 2017. This is around eight times the EU average, and it is feared that the figure for 2018 will be even higher.”
Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf, said: “Substance use devastates too many families and communities across the country. We want to address that and change the provision of treatment and support for those who are most at risk. That means taking forward evidence-led measures with a focus on improving how we support those who need support and how we address the wider issues that affect them.
“In the last 10 years we have invested over £784 million to tackle problem alcohol and drug use.”