The ‘war on drugs’ approach should be scrapped and instead, decriminalisation should be introduced, the Scottish Greens have said.

The party wants drugs and drug deaths to be dealt with as a public health issue rather than a criminal justice matter.

Scotland has had a record number of drug deaths in recent years and the latest figures showed Glasgow hit its highest total ever.

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In 2023 there were 303 suspected drug deaths in Greater Glasgow a rise of 41% from the figure for the year before when it was 214.

The Glasgow rise is far higher than across Scotland where almost 1200 suspected deaths were recorded.

The Greens are arguing the strategy has failed and it will include decriminalisation in its General Election manifesto.

Patrick Harvie Greens co-leader and Glasgow MSP said reform has been too slow.

He said: “Far too many lives have been impacted by a system that is doing more harm than good. Successive governments have stuck to the same failed policies for far too long, and the human cost has been terrible.

“Every death from drug misuse is an avoidable human tragedy, but the bold reform we need has been held back by a stubborn and dogmatic Tory approach and a preference for fighting constitutional battles rather than providing help and support to people who need it.”

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Harvie said rather than punishment people need treatment.

He said: “Drug misuse is a public health issue and it must be treated as one.

"That means supporting the many people, families and communities being affected by it, rather than continuing to prioritise criminalisation and punishment for its own sake.”

The MSP said while action from all levels of government was needed, the biggest barrier to reform has been the UK Government and a refusal to back initiatives like safer consumption rooms.

Harvie added: “The war on drugs has failed, so why have so many governments stuck to it?

“We can’t have even more years of a broken status quo that is actively harming people and causing premature and avoidable deaths.”