Drug death rate has 'tripled under SNP's watch' says Craig Hoy
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Speaking to Express.co.uk the Craig Hoy, MSP for South Scotland, slammed Ms Sturgeon’s drug death record which has “destroyed people’s lives” and see the country hit a record number of deaths from drug abuse for the seventh year in a row, the highest in Europe.
Mr Hoy demanded Nicola Sturgeon takes action on the crisis which he said: “has been here and now for quite a while” amid repeated inaction from her government.
He highlighted how alcohol deaths in 2020 were “the highest in Scotland since 2008”.
The South Scotland MSP also highlighted how the drug death rate in Scotland “has almost tripled under the SNP’s watch”.
He added how “these are real problems that destroy peoples lives” as he blamed the SNP’s policy decisions as a central cause of the crisis.
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Central to Mr Hoy’s anger at the SNP is their decision to cut the drug rehabilitation budget early on which he blamed has been pivotal in sparking the drug and alcohol death crisis unfolding.
Mr Hoy went on to focus on attitudes towards drug criminalisation in Scotland as he stressed how the Scottish Conservatives have been “quite clear” that moves by police Scotland to decriminalise the possession of class A drugs “is the wrong approach to take”.
He noted: “We don’t want to make it easier for people to take drugs and we don’t want the police to be turning a blind eye.
“Scotland has a drugs crisis, it has a problem with alcohol, there is a problem with mental health treatment and waiting times.”
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He concluded how “cumulatively” post-Covid, these problems have stacked together to create “a perfect storm” which the SNP have failed to tackle effectively.
1,339 people died of drug misuse in Scotland 2020, while 1,190 died of alcohol abuse.
It saw the country hit a record number of drug deaths for the seventh year in a row.
Almost two thirds of the deaths were of people aged between 35 and 54, with the average age increasing from 32 to 43 over the past 20-years.
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Men were 2.7 times as likely to have a drug-related death than women in 2020.
As a result, Scotland has the highest death rates in Europe and more than three-and-a-half times that of England and Wales.
The number of drug-related deaths has massively increase over the past two decades meaning they are now almost three times higher than it was a decade ago.
Observers have pointed to an upward trend accelerating since 2013, two years after the SNP won a majority in Holyrood.
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