Scotland’s drugs policy minister has said she wants to ensure there is more regular reporting of drug-related deaths to help save lives.
Angela Constance indicated that she does not want reporting of the figures to only be an annual event.
It comes after figures published in December showed that 1,264 people died from drugs in 2019 – the highest figure on record.
Speaking on Scotland Tonight, Constance also explained that she is currently consulting on a new treatment target.
“Going forward, I want to ensure that we have more regular reporting of drug-related deaths in Scotland and that it’s not just an annual event,” she said.
“We need better, quicker information to ensure that our services act quicker in response to information to improve lives and to save lives.”
Constance, who is the SNP MSP for Almond Valley, said that she will set out on Thursday at Holyrood the “significant financial investment” that will back up new standards on care and treatment.
She said: “A key factor for me is getting more of our people in treatment, treatment that is right for them.
“I am currently consulting with stakeholders on introducing a new target for treatment.
“We have been working on a framework that will crucially measure how we are implementing our actions and I am determined that we will turn our words into actions.
“And when we look at those new standards of care and treatment, that for the first time in Scotland, are backed up by significant financial investment which I will lay out to Parliament tomorrow.
“And also with an implementation plan and a deadline, an expectation that all of those standards will be implemented in Scotland by next Spring.”
In December last year, Constance’s predecessor as minister with responsibility for drugs policy, Joe FitzPatrick, was sacked by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
Asked if she would resign from her post if the targets she sets out are not reached, Constance said: “That will be a matter for the First Minister and ultimately, Parliament.”
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