The Scottish Conservatives have called on all front-line services – including the police and the courts – to be involved in tackling Dundee’s drug deaths crisis.
Dundee’s Drugs Commission last Friday released their long-awaited report into the city’s addiction woes, but admitted it had not had enough time to investigate fully the impact of drugs and the role of criminal justice services and law enforcement of drugs.
Scottish Conservative shadow justice secretary Liam Kerr said drug use was “inextricably linked” with the public perception of crime in Dundee.
A follow-up review is planned by the commission within the next year, where it is hoped the areas missed can be investigated.
Mr Kerr said: “The report shows Dundee is in dire need of a cross-disciplinary solution to its drug deaths crisis.
“The SNP government’s current tactic of parking a drug user on methadone for life isn’t working – for anyone.
“Illegal drug use is inextricably linked to the public’s perception of crime in the city.
“There has to be a person-centred approach to solving that, for everyone’s benefit.
“Any new way of dealing with drugs has to involve everyone on the front line – that includes police, courts, and those who support people whose live in the shadow of drugs.
“Addiction creates victims all around it.”
The Commission said: “Despite extensive efforts to fully cover all the objectives of the commission, there are some areas that have not received as much or enough attention as others.
“The Commission decided at a very early stage to focus its attention on the key themes that arose from the initial call for evidence (leadership, drug deaths, treatment and mental health) in order to ensure that a thorough review of these elements was possible in the time frame and resources available to the commission.
“In doing so, we would like to identify a number of areas which have been beyond the realistic scope of the commission, but which we feel will require further, detailed, attention down the line so that the Dundee Partnership can have a full, whole-systems review and approach at its disposal.”
Chief Superintendent Andrew Todd, Police Scotland’s divisional commander for Tayside, said at the commission launch: “This is a challenge for society.
“Enforcement has a key role to play. People who profit from the sale and supply of controlled drugs will be targeted relentlessly.
“But we recognise that, in itself, is not a solution. It has to be part of a partnership approach.”