Drugs (Legislation)

General Questions – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:00 pm on 2nd December 2004.

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Photo of Jeremy Purvis Jeremy Purvis Liberal Democrat 2:00 pm, 2nd December 2004

To ask the Scottish Executive what discussions it has had with the United Kingdom Government regarding plans to alter legislation on possession which would introduce an offence of having drugs in the bloodstream. (S2O-4401)

Photo of Hugh Henry Hugh Henry Labour

The Scottish Executive is in regular contact with the UK Government on a wide range of issues, including the misuse of drugs. I understand that there are no plans to introduce an offence of that nature.

Photo of Jeremy Purvis Jeremy Purvis Liberal Democrat

I am grateful for that confirmation. The minister has acknowledged that more needs to be done to reduce drug-related crime, but will he confirm that the Government's alcohol strategy review showed that offenders have been found to be intoxicated with alcohol in 30 per cent of sexual offences, 33 per cent of burglaries and 50 per cent of street crime and that the problem is more severe in Scotland? What is the Executive doing to raise the profile of alcohol-related crime in police areas throughout Scotland?

Photo of Hugh Henry Hugh Henry Labour

Excessive consumption of alcohol and alcohol-related crime remain issues throughout Scotland. We have invested significantly in education programmes to make people aware of the dangers of alcohol and to promote safe alcohol consumption. As part of our review of licensing laws, we are encouraging a debate about the need for those who sell alcohol to act responsibly and for those who purchase and consume alcohol to take responsibility for their own safety and protection and the safety and protection of the wider community.

Photo of Brian Adam Brian Adam Scottish National Party

In the minister's discussions with Her Majesty's Government, will he support a reduction in the limit of ethanol that is permitted in the bloodstream of people who are driving?

Photo of Hugh Henry Hugh Henry Labour

We discuss a range of issues with our UK colleagues and I am sure that they will continue to review the limits of various substances in the bloodstream in relation to driving. The message must go out that people who take substances that affect behaviour should be careful and, in fact, should not consume them when they are considering driving.