It was a catastrophic mistake, but simply restoring or increasing budgets will not be enough. Addiction is complex and so must be the solutions. Or maybe just a recognition that his harm reduction and ending the terrible carnage we seek as an addiction will likely always be with us, but not to such a shameful extent.
Either way, the Conservatives can say that being able to access a rehab bed is not a proven panacea either, even if it is a start. The poverty and desperation that fuel so much, confirmed by startling statistics showing that its deprived neighborhoods suffer most often, will still persist. The blame there lies with the Conservative governments going back to that of Margaret Thatcher. It is as vital to tackle the roots of addictions as it is to tackle its consequences.
Drug-related deaths in Scotland: demand for ministerial statement as pressure mounts on …
Additionally, those looking to tackle their addiction often need support in their community or help relocating, the latter option often drawing them away from supportive family and friends, as well as those who might encourage relapse. . This is why treatment located within the community is often better than what appears to be an ideal solution, from a rehabilitation center in an idyllic setting. What treatment works for some, like complete abstinence, doesn’t work for others, so there must be options.
But in addition to providing resources, the Scottish government needs to show courage. Simply saying that the Misuse of Drugs Act is reserved for Westminster is not enough. Certainly, and the room for maneuver is limited, but a certain flexibility exists.
The interpretation of the law and its application by police and prosecutors is based here in Scotland. Actions, or more likely failure to act, could be challenged in court. But who knows what the courts might decide and, until then, why not turn a blind eye to certain types of crime? Many other laws are regularly broken and the authorities take no action.
If every crime was prosecuted, then the courts would be closed overnight and history is littered with crimes that were in the law book but were routinely ignored.
Unfortunately, the Scottish government has so far neither sought flexibility nor shown courage.