Drug deaths figures being published next week are likely to be “horrifying”, the Liberal Democrats said, as they accused the Scottish Government of failing to make progress on tackling the issue.
The party’s health spokesman Alex Cole-Hamilton said Scotland’s drug death “emergency” is the worst in Europe and four times worse than in England and Wales.
The 2019 figures for drug-related deaths in Scotland are due to be published on Tuesday.
A dispute between the Crown Office and toxicology services led to the data being delayed from its planned release date.
The Liberal Democrats said none of the ten steps they recommended to ministers a year ago have been acted on.
The steps include a commitment to avoid jail sentences for those caught with drugs in their personal possession and the creation of a “regulated” cannabis market.
Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “Another year has slipped by without discernible progress and thousands of people are still at serious risk.
“On the eve of what will likely be a fresh set of horrifying statistics on Scotland’s drug deaths, we are calling on the Government to take quick steps to address this emergency.
“Scotland cannot tolerate more tragedies because neither the Scottish nor the UK Government will act on a scale that matches the evidence in front of them.”
He added: “Our drug death rate puts our country to shame.
“Drug experts are clear that the Scottish Government has a range of powers that it could use to tackle this crisis now.
“Scotland needs to turn a corner. A combination of pre-emptive measures and compassionate treatment could make that happen.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We have invested almost £895m to tackle problem alcohol and drug use since 2008, and the total financial resource is higher including contributions from the NHS and other statutory partners.
“We want to ensure everyone who requires drug and alcohol treatment has access to it and our budget commits a further £20m to reduce the harm caused by drugs.
“This means the total Scottish Government spend on drugs and alcohol in 2020/21 will be up to £95.3m.
“Our alcohol and drug strategy includes an eight-point treatment plan that outlines ways to improve access to effective services and interventions.
“This includes the need for assertive outreach and ensuring the provision of a wide range of harm reduction interventions that are accessible to those most at risk.”