The Scottish Greens have highlighted the need to end the ‘war on drugs’ and divert resources into tackling it as a public health issue and not a criminal matter.

The party said it’s manifesto will include proposals to focus on drop-in services and crisis centres and will include the introduction of safe consumption facilities.

Lorna Slater, Scottish Greens co-leader, said: “Scotland has the highest level of drug-related deaths in Europe. It’s clear the war on drugs has failed.

“We need a completely different approach. While outdated UK wide laws present us with some challenges, Greens believe that there are bold steps that can be taken now to address the national scandal of drug deaths.

“Scotland has is a proud record of harm reduction, with things like the smoking ban, minimum unit pricing for alcohol and our approach to knife crime.

“Our approach to drugs must continue that tradition, and the need is urgent. That’s why we support safe consumption and other measures to prevent deaths and focus on rehabilitation, so we don’t clog up our prisons with victims.”

Meanwhile the Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross, was in Glasgow to promote his plans for youth employment and skills.

Visiting Thales Optronics in Govan, he said more women apprentices were needed and schemes had to be better suited to the needs of employers not government targets.

Ross said: “Scotland faces a looming jobs crisis and we must focus on recovery and rebuilding not the reckless referendum that the SNP wan to hold as soon as possible.

“Our young people deserve every opportunity to prosper and thrive. They cannot become Covid’s ‘lost generation’.

“Our ambitious plans would make apprenticeships unlimited, and responsive to the needs of businesses, rather than restricted by government targets.

Labour wants to set up a commission to “clean up Holyrood” and improve standards in the Scottish Parliament.

Anas Sarwar, Scottish Labour leader, said: “We are rightly proud of our role in establishing a devolved parliament, but we have to accept that trust and faith in parliament has been lost in recent years.

“We cannot allow the circus that has defined the start of this campaign or the institutional failures that defined the Salmond inquiry to run over into the Parliament of the next five years.”

The SNP focused on plans to help out businesses on local high streets with a £275m fund to support community-led regeneration and town centre revitalisation.

Nicola Sturgeon, SNP leader, said: “We’ll never be able to thank businesses and their employees enough for the sacrifices they have made to help get the virus under control over the last twelve months. Revitalising our town centres and communities was already a priority of the SNP Government before the pandemic struck, but that agenda is now essential.”