July 15, 2023 by Joseph Billions, Cannabis.net
Last week, the Scottish government made a plea to decriminalize the possession of small quantities of drugs as an effort to address the alarming number of overdose deaths in the country, which ranks among the highest in Europe. In a policy proposal, the semi-autonomous government in Edinburgh, led by the Scottish National Party advocating for independence, stated that removing criminal penalties for drug possession would enable the implementation of safe and evidence-based harm reduction services.
During a press conference, Scottish drugs minister Elena Whitham, alongside drug policy reform advocates Helen Clark, the former Prime Minister of New Zealand, and Ruth Dreifuss, the former President of Switzerland, expressed their belief that the “war on drugs” had proven unsuccessful. Whitham emphasised that the current drug legislation not only fails to deter drug use, prevent associated harm, and ultimately save lives, but it also exacerbates the negative consequences experienced by individuals. Criminalisation contributes to fatalities and intensifies the harm caused by drug use.