Drug crisis must be a priority for new First Minister

Synthetic opioids typically sold as heroin are now a real problem. -Credit:2023 The Washington Post/Getty Images
Synthetic opioids typically sold as heroin are now a real problem. -Credit:2023 The Washington Post/Getty Images

Another set of shocking statistics shows Scotland’s drug shame is far from over. After a brief period where figures appeared to be moving in the right direction, an 11 per cent rise in the numbers of users dying once again brings the problem into sharp focus.

Whoever is elected as the next first minister must hit the ground running to deal with this curse on our society.

Drug campaigner Peter Krykant is right when he says there needs to be consistency, both in message and application. And with the menace of synthetic opioids now a real problem there really is no time to lose.

Scots lives have already been lost to these drugs but as more begin to flood the market, that number is set to rise.

The drugs are staggeringly 50 times more potent than heroin so it would be foolhardy to believe they will not have a massive impact on the death rate.

The government has been warned deaths could soar and drugs minister Christina McKelvie has promised they are working hard to respond to the growing threat in an increasingly toxic and unpredictable drug supply.

Just how hard they are working to tackle it will be reflected in the next set of drug death figures.

Every life lost is a stain on Scotland and addressing the country’s drugs crisis must be a priority of the new first minister.

Deliver justice

A legal judgment handed down yesterday revealed what sub- postmasters were up against when they were falsely accused of fraud.

The dodgy Horizon accounting system and the role it played in hundreds of wrongful prosecutions is well known.

But a top judge explained yesterday that sub-postmasters also had to contend with the Post Office’s in-house investigations team, which was capable of misleading reports on its own.

Lady Dorrian criticised investigators for carrying out one interview when the subject appeared to be in a daze and not capable of understanding the questions put to them.

The judgment was issued as the courts overturned convictions against six former sub-postmasters, one of whom has already died.

The wheels of justice turn slowly in Scotland and every effort must be made to issue further pardons to the many other Post Office staff who deserve them.

The full weight of the law should also be felt by any crooked investigators.

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