Tag Archives: drug addiction

30 April 2024 – yesterday’s (other) press releases

  • Suspected drug deaths up by 11%
  • Welsh Lib Dems criticise Tata’s “heavy handed” approach to steel workers concerns
  • Cole-Hamilton speaks in abortion safe access zones debate
  • UK Governments Rwanda plans are “cold and callous”- Welsh Lib Dems
  • Blackie: scrap business rates, boost our high streets

Suspected drug deaths up by 11%

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today warned that the country’s drugs crisis continues to “end lives and blight communities”, as new quarterly statistics revealed that suspected drug deaths have increased by 11%.

Figures published today show that between December 2023 and February 2024, the total number of suspected drug deaths was 278, which is 11% higher than the previous quarter in which 267 suspected drug deaths were recorded.

Public Health Scotland also confirmed that: “Based on the latest post-mortem toxicology testing, nitazenes were detected in 38 deaths (from the first detection in June 2022 to 31 December 2023).”

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

Scotland’s drug deaths emergency continues to end lives and blight communities.

We are also seeing increasing evidence of nitazenes, a synthetic opioid 50 times stronger than heroin, contributing significantly to that crisis.

I have joined with campaigners in warning that these substances represent a growing part of the drugs death crisis, highlighting that their presence in Scotland will require an immediate response. That’s why I asked Humza Yousaf about nitazenes during First Minister’s Questions in early January.

Despite these emerging threats, the Scottish Government have delivered a brutal real-terms cut to drug services.

Well-meaning words and promises just won’t cut it. As well as delivering radical and transformational action to help all those suffering, I want ministers to protect and strengthen the drug and alcohol budget so that everyone can access care when they need it.

Welsh Lib Dems criticise Tata’s “heavy handed” approach to steel workers concerns

Today in the Senedd, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have called out Tata Steel for threatening to withdraw redundancy packages from workers at their Port Talbot site if they decide to go on strike over potential job losses.

The company also rejected plans submitted by the unions which would have kept at least one of the blast furnaces running at the site.

Posted in London, News, Press releases, Scotland and Wales | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 1 Comment

12 March 2024 – today’s press releases

  • Stuart’s failure to call out racist Hester comments “jaw-dropping”
  • 1,197 suspected drug deaths in 2023
  • Firefighters face risks as government fails to deliver RAAC register
  • Welsh Lib Dems call for more support for childcare sector in Wales
  • Care leavers shouldn’t be forced to “bear burden of proof” when it comes to accessing housing support
  • Blackie calls on Susan Hall to disown racist Frank Hester remarks

Stuart’s failure to call out racist Hester comments “jaw-dropping”

Responding to Graham Stuarts’ comments this morning on Times Radio where he refused to say Frank Hester’s alleged comments were racist and refused to say the money should be returned, Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain MP said:

Graham Stuart’s refusal to call out these racist comments was simply jaw-dropping.

The Conservative Party has flat out refused to return these donations despite these comments being inexcusable. How low can you go?

Rishi Sunak can bunker down and hide in Downing Street as long as he wants but every day he doesn’t return this money is another damning blow to the Conservative Party’s credibility.

1,197 suspected drug deaths in 2023

Responding to new Police Scotland figures showing that there were 1,197 suspected drug deaths between January and December 2023, which is a 10% increase compared to 2022, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:

When 100 people a month are dying in Scotland’s drugs deaths emergency, we need to be open to anything that will save them. Each represents a life cut short and a family torn apart by grief.

These numbers are already going in the wrong direction and with the SNP and Greens having pushed through a budget that delivers a real-terms cut to drug services, I am extremely concerned that problems will simply get worse.

Every tool at our disposal needs to be used to reduce harm and save lives. That includes protecting the drug and alcohol budget, integrated drug checking facilities and preparing now for a network of safe consumption rooms because help can’t just be limited to Glasgow.

Well-meaning words won’t stop people dying. Humza Yousaf and his government must deliver swift change and ensure they never take their eye off the ball again.

Firefighters face risks as government fails to deliver RAAC register

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today urged the Scottish Government to compile a complete list of buildings where the dangerous bubbly concrete known as RAAC is present, as a minister conceded that the presence of the material could present safety implications for firefighters responding to incidents.

In response to a parliamentary question from Mr Cole-Hamilton, community safety minister Siobhian Brown admitting that “Where the material is in poor condition there could be greater risk of weakness or collapse”.

Posted in London, News, Press releases, Scotland and Wales | Also tagged , , , , , , , and | 4 Comments

18 October 2022 – today’s press releases

  • Triple lock: Truss looks set to betray struggling pensioners in the middle of a cost of living crisis
  • Lib Dem Amendment Put to Vote to End Sleaze in Parliament
  • Anti-sleaze amendment passed to stop MPs “marking their own homework”
  • Calls for Action as Drug-Related Deaths in Wales Rise to Highest Level Ever
  • Welsh Government Must Act to Stop the Brain Drain of Doctors in Wales

Triple lock: Truss looks set to betray struggling pensioners in the middle of a cost of living crisis

Responding to the Prime Minister’s spokesperson refusing to say the Government is committed to the triple lock pension, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Work and Pensions Wendy Chamberlain MP said:

Liz Truss has trashed the economy and now looks set to betray struggling pensioners in the middle of a cost of living crisis.

This Conservative Government’s botched budget has already sent mortgage bills spiralling. It would be a kick in the teeth for millions of people if Truss now backtracks on her triple lock promise. The British public will never forgive the Conservative party if they break this promise.

This chaotic Government has to go. Britain needs a general election before Liz Truss and her Conservative Ministers do anymore damage.

Lib Dem Amendment Put to Vote to End Sleaze in Parliament

The Liberal Democrats have today led a cross-party Parliamentary effort to finally end the practice by which MPs are allowed to vote on motions regarding their own misconduct.

The Lib Dem Chief Whip Wendy Chamberlain is today putting an amendment to a vote on the Government’s motion on standards, which the Government has tabled to implement recommendations from the Standards Committee, later this afternoon.

This practice was notoriously brought to attention by the Owen Paterson scandal, when he voted against his own suspension from the House of Commons in 2021 – a saga which ultimately resulted in a Liberal Democrat victory in the North Shropshire by-election.

The amendments, which have support from Conservatives (David Mundell, Alicia Kearns), Labour (Kim Leadbeater, Cat Smith) and the Green Party (Caroline Lucas), would prohibit members from voting on anything concerning their own conduct.

Posted in News and Press releases | Also tagged , , , , , and | 7 Comments

We need to talk about drug addiction, decriminalisation, legalisation and regulation

It’s time to look again at our policy on drugs,  a topic which we can ‘own,’  which will get us noticed In the media and, which will differentiate us from Labour and Conservatives.

I’m not talking about cannabis, recreational use has become almost mainstream, is  more or less ignored by the police and is certainly far, far less harmful than either tobacco and /or alcohol, -that is established medical fact.

The medicinal uses of cannabis are now being acknowledged and established, even if there is a long way to go on further research and getting the medical supply chain organised.

No, I want us to talk about the hard stuff; class A, like heroin and cocaine. This is the topic where a change in mind-set is needed,  an end to ‘the war on drugs’, and if that can be achieved the medical and societal gains will be huge.

Since the general election in 2019 we Liberal Democrats and to a lesser extent Labour have become more or less invisible; – not surprising in the face of a national and international health emergency of monumental proportions. But, as the total incompetence of the Johnson Tory government on almost every front becomes  more obvious with every  passing month, it’s high time for us to emerge from the shadows and start some proper debate on some fresh topics both in health and beyond, and  which might get us some useful media coverage as a bonus.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 21 Comments

Willie Rennie: The way we tackle drug addiction is broken

drugsWillie Rennie has called for a sea-change in drugs policy after new analysis showed that 1,000 people in possession of drugs for personal use have been imprisoned in the last five years instead of being sent for treatment or education.

The figures, compiled by Scottish Government analysts at the request of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, revealed an average of 200 people in Scotland were incarcerated for drug offences between 2010 and 2015. In contrast, an average of just 55 Scots per year were handed drug treatment and testing orders.

Our  manifesto for the Holyrood election proposes to end the use of imprisonment for vulnerable people addicted to drugs, calling for it to be treated as a health issue instead. Drug dealers would still face tough criminal sanctions and people failing to abide by treatment or education plans would be subject to additional penalties.

Willie spoke to Liberal Democrat campaigners in Glasgow, where 189 people died as a result of drug misuse in 2014.

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