Return to Arguments Index
National Party's Drugs Policy
Scottish National Party, November 1997
The Scottish National Party acknowledges that there is no one distinct drug
problem and no one distinct solution. The SNP believes that Government has a clear
responsibility to deliver clear, realistic and effective policy to deal with the
drugs situation in Scotland. The SNP calls on the following measures to be put
in place :
- A National drugs strategy in Scotland
is needed to direct policy and funding to the numerous, various groups/organisations
and authorities working in this field. The problems encountered by a multi-agency
approach should be addressed and clear communication lines put in place. If necessary
rationalising and streamlining of drug support bodies should take place.
realistic, pragmatic approach to reducing demand for drugs should be adopted with
accessible informed education and harm limitation forming part of this approach.
- Quality and regular on-going research should be carried out so that successes
and failures of any particular initiatives in any part of the country can be monitored,
lessons learned and importantly shared. Funding sources should be stabilised so
that organisations can plan and continue to exist in the long-term.
and the economic and social problems facing young people in particular must be
dealt with. There is also a need to acknowledge the changes in youth culture which
have occurred in recent years.
B. A listening approach
forums of young people should be set up and consulted on a variety of issues in
order that policy makers can keep in touch with the ever-changing drug scene.
C. Information and research
As the drugs scene is a constantly changing
phenomenon, any framework needs to allow the rapid dissemination and collection
of current information on drug use and abuse. An audit of drugs support facilities
is necessary, specifically :
- Targets should be set as to the percentage
of drug misusers that the Scottish Drug Misuse Database encompasses. Specifically,
the database should be expanded to include information from needle exchanges and
generic social work.
- The setting up and co-ordination by the Scottish Office
of a Scotland-wide programme of research with security of funding.
collection and analysis of drugs-related morbidity on the Scottish Drug Misuse
- The establishment of a mechanism by the Scottish Criminal Statistics
Committee to record all drug-related crime.
- The recording of drug misuse
by the social work authorities at the point of referral for social work services
to ensure comprehensive and reliable information is collected.
education and information provision
- 'Social information' sessions
in schools should become the responsibility of community health and community
education services with a statutory responsibility on secondary schools to set
aside time for these sessions. Teachers should have the responsibility for education
on drug issues in primary schools.
- In each Drugs Action Team area teams
of people who have direct experience of the drugs scene from a variety of backgrounds
(eg social work departments, health services, voluntary organisations) should
be seconded as part of their regular work to form a 'Drugs communication team'
to work in schools, with parents and community groups to provide information about
drugs. These groups would come under the direction of community health services.
E. Youth Culture
The SNP support initiatives to encourage Safer
Dancing events and support guidelines for good practice at dance events.
There is a need to stabilise funding for those agencies dealing
with drugs and to review the source and provision of funding to those working
in the drugs field, specifically:
- The 'ring-fencing' of Community
Care allocations to local authorities for residential services
- The costs
of alternative forms of custody in residential units for offenders with drug problems
should be borne out of criminal justice rather than health board or social work
- An assessment of health board drug service costs should
be made and drug service funding should be made out of specific 'ring-fenced'
allocation. Drug services should be seen as justifiable expenditure in their own
right and not as part of public health funding.
- The Scottish Office should
carry out an assessment to provide a full picture of local authority expenditure
on drug misuse in Scotland.
G. Hard drug abuse
provisions should be made :
- a planned and clearly defined detoxification
service with appropriate aftercare.
- adequate staffing at the crisis centres
to provide professional advice round the clock.
- six to twelve month residential
rehabilitation for prisoners.
- more crisis intervention centres.
There should be :
- a regular review by GPs of
their long term prescribing of all drugs of potential abuse to individual patients.
- an extension of undergraduate medical training to cover training on drugs
and more continuing education to cover drugs issues.
I. Family support
There should be support for families having to deal with a family member abusing
drugs. Support must also be given to existing groups and help given to start family
groups where none exist at present.
J. Drug rehabilitation in prisons
The following actions should be taken :
- the re-appraisal of mandatory
drug testing in prison.
- tackling the problem of prisoners becoming addicts
while in prison and the incidence of death through overdose by prisoners immediately
- drug rehabilitation in prisons being developed as part of the
general rehabilitation of prisoners to help prevent re-offending thus reducing
crime and saving money in the criminal justice system budget.
- The SNP supports the reclassification of drugs
to provide a hierarchy of drugs which is credible to the audience with whom drug
campaigns must engage in dialogue if behaviour is to be changed. It notes the
recommendations made for reclassification made by the Scottish Affairs Report
1994 and Baroness Wooton's report.
- The SNP calls for a review to redefine
use and reclassify drugs under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Any redefinition
should consider the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes and cultivation for
own use. Reclassification should consider broadening the bands and possible classification
in terms of chemical content or harm which can be caused.
- Customs jobs and services should be protected and coastline provision
should be expanded to prevent drugs entering the country.
- The SNP support
the current increased use of fiscal fines rather than custodial sentences for
M. International drugs trade
A policy of
international co-operation should be pursued to enable Scotland to play its part
in reducing world demand for drugs with consequent effect on international crime,
and the provision of alternative means for nations to develop stable economic
and political systems other than drug based societies.