Downing Street today rejected Scottish ministers’ calls for the decriminalisation of all drugs for personal use.
A new strategy document has asked the United Kingdom to relax restrictions or give Holyrood greater control over the system north of the border.
The SNP has come under fire for failing to address drug concerns in Scotland, where the fatality rate is the highest in Europe.
However, the latest suggestions claim that decriminalising personal possession would allow addiction to be treated as a ‘health’ issue rather than a legal issue.
They also suggest that those in recovery would have a higher chance of finding work if they did not have a criminal record.
However, Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman dismissed the push.
‘While I haven’t seen those claims, I’m confident enough to state that there are no intentions to change our harsh position on drugs,’ added the spokesman.
The document outlined measures which could be implemented through further devolution, independence, or UK Government action.
It suggested this would allow Scotland to push ahead with initiatives such as supervised drug consumption facilities.
The paper back updating the drug classification system based on harms caused.
The idea of a ‘regulated’ market for drugs supply is also floated, although it stresses Scottish ministers do not currently ‘advocate’ the policy.
Scotland’s Drugs Policy minister Elena Whitham said the proposals could ‘save lives’.
‘We want to create a society where problematic drug use is treated as a health, not a criminal matter, reducing stigma and discrimination and enabling the person to recover and contribute positively to society,’ she said.
‘While we know these proposals will spark debate, they are in line with our public health approach and would further our national mission to improve and save lives.