Dundee Drugs Commission

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 5 September 2019.

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Photo of Jenny Marra Jenny Marra Labour

The First Minister will know that the Dundee drugs commission reported on 16 August. The report showed that the character of Dundee’s drugs problem is different from that in the rest of Scotland, in that more young people are tragically dying there, poly drug use is far more common, and the people who die are more likely to have lived in poverty.

The report was scathing about the national health service drugs service. It is isolated, unaccountable, maverick, punitive and wilfully ignores national and regional best practice. That service is directly under the Government’s control. How can the First Minister make the Dundee drugs service better for our citizens, and reduce the number of deaths?

The First Minister:

I welcome the work of the drugs commission. Its work is obviously very important in the context of Dundee. Points about differing contexts in some circumstances have been well made and have to be considered properly. I also think that the recommendations in the commission’s report will have wider relevance to Scotland more generally.

The Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing has already met the chair of the Dundee drugs commission to discuss the report, and we are considering the recommendations for Government carefully. Obviously the recommendations will feed in to the wider work that the Government is leading. We have commissioned the new drugs task force, and I announced additional funding earlier this week. The Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing will make a statement to Parliament this afternoon to update members on that work. I am sure that the contents of that statement will be of interest to Jenny Marra and other members from across the chamber.