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14 November 2005

STEVENSON ON TORY METHADONE CLAIMS

Commenting today (Monday) on claims by Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie that the Scottish Executive “is spending £11 million a year on publicly-funded drug addiction” through its methadone prescription initiative, SNP Deputy Shadow Justice Minister, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“Any contribution to the debate on drugs use in Scotland is to be welcomed. Methadone can be used an entry door to treatment and rehabilitation for dug users, but the latest figures show there are 51,000 heroin users in Scotland and the methadone use figures suggest that less than half of these addicts are getting the support they need.

“The major challenge in drugs is to tackle the dealers and suppliers of drugs. Until we do, the number of drug addicts in Scotland will continue to be a problem. The best way to tackle the Mr and Mrs Bigs of Scotland’s drugs trade is to go for their assets and ensure that the trade in illegal drugs in not a profitable one.

“Moves to increase resources available to SDEA are the most important single measure that can be taken to tackle the scourge of drugs in our society.”

Commenting on the provision of treatment for drug addicts, Mr Stevenson added:

“The important thing is to ensure that services are available across Scotland to help those who are addicted to drugs. The present piece-meal provision, which leaves addicts waiting for up to 12 months for treatment in many areas of Scotland, is clearly unacceptable.

“We must ensure that drug addicts get the help they need as soon as possible to give them the best possible chance of beating their addiction.”
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