THE UK Government has set a date for the Glasgow drugs death summit.

Scotland’s public health minister said there had been consultation with the Scottish Government or Glasgow City Council.

Last year when record death figures were revealed the Glasgow Times called for the event to take place with the UK and Scottish governments and Glasgow City Council to get together to devise solutions to reduce the deaths.

The event will take place in the city on February 27.

The summit will focus on solutions that can be applied across the UK but is to be held in Glasgow.

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In 2018, the drug death toll reached 280 in Glasgow and 1187 across Scotland – the highest ever.

Figures for 2019 are expected to rise again with experts and drug workers predicting it will top 300 deaths in Glasgow.

The UK’s crime minister Kit Malthouse, who will chair the event, said: “People are dying from drugs every day across the UK, and this summit will bring us together to tackle the issue of drug misuse.

“We must have firm enforcement action and do all we can on prevention, recovery and treatment too.

“I look forward to meeting key individuals from across the UK and listening to their views on addressing this challenge.”

After our call the Scottish Government agreed to attend and initially the UK Government said it would not be able to take part.

However, Malthouse announced before the election that a summit would be hosted in Glasgow.

The UK Government said the summit will bring together drug recovery experts, health professionals, government ministers and senior police officers from across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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They will discuss how to work together to best prevent deaths related to drug misuse.

Scotland’s public health minister Joe FitzPatrick said he was “surprised” by the manner in which the summit was announced.

He said: “What Scotland faces in terms of drug deaths is nothing short of a public health emergency and we will engage constructively with any attempts to save lives.

“I have asked UK Government ministers repeatedly to meet to discuss this issue and to attend a summit we were organising. # “I was, therefore, very surprised that the UK Government announced a summit in Glasgow without any consultation with the Scottish Government and Glasgow.

“Regardless of how the UK Government have chosen to go about this, what really matters is reducing harm and saving lives. That’s why listening to, and engaging with, people with lived experience of drug use and those on the front line must be central to any summit.

“We will now, again, attempt to work with the UK Government to facilitate this.”

Glasgow Tory MSP Annie Wells welcomed the move.

She said: “This is a huge opportunity for us to tackle the drugs crisis not just in Glasgow, but across the whole country.

“We must put our political and constitutional differences aside and come up with solutions here – the public will not forgive us if we do not.”