Proposed legislation that would introduce a right to rehabilitation for those struggling with drug addiction has been published by the Tories.
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said the Right to Recovery (Scotland) Bill is a “serious, credible proposal” that will end the “disgraceful situation where people seeking to get off drugs can’t actually get the treatment they need”.
The Bill seeks to ensure anyone dealing with substance misuse or drug addiction is able to “quickly access their preferred treatment option, unless a medical professional deems it would be harmful”.
This would give people a right to residential or community-based rehabilitation and detoxification services.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon conceded during the election campaign that she “took her eye off the ball” with regards to Scotland’s drug problem – with a record 1,264 drug deaths recorded during 2019.
Under the Conservative proposals, the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 would be amended so cash seized by authorities investigating drug crime could be used to fund care plans for those needing help.
Tories say the Bill, if passed, would reduce the number of people addicted to drugs, and help cut crime as a result.
This, they argue, would in turn reduce the burden on the police, prison service and criminal justice system.
Mr Ross said: “We have worked with frontline experts to develop this proposal so we can finally make sure everyone gets the treatment they need to get off drugs and get better.
“We are determined to tackle Scotland’s drug death crisis and stop Nicola Sturgeon taking her ‘eye off the ball’ on this national shame ever again.
“This Bill is still at an early stage but it is a serious, credible proposal. It would put an end to the disgraceful situation where people seeking to get off drugs can’t actually get the treatment they need.
“I urge the SNP Government to back this Bill and we will work constructively with other parties and organisations across the political spectrum to make this a reality.”