Possession and consumption of drugs should be decriminalised in Scotland, the SNP has said.
On the first day of the party’s annual conference members overwhelmingly voted in favour of a pivot in the party’s drug policy.
The Scottish Conservatives have called the move “deeply concerning”.
An amendment on decriminalisation proposed by the Leith and Portobello branch was accepted to the agenda motion calling for the devolution of drugs powers from Westminster to Holyrood.
In Scotland 1,187 people died in 2018 from drug-related death, 66 of them in Dundee.
Drug policy and the decriminalisation of possession of controlled substances is reserved to the UK Government under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
The move to decriminalise drugs was supported by Dundee SNP members, with council leader John Alexander saying yesterday’s change would be beneficial for the strategy to tackle the city’s drug death toll.
He said: “This is a positive move and one which I have, personally, long supported.
“The Dundee Drug Commission, among many others, has explored in great detail the approaches taken internationally such as decriminalisation. It has helped Portugal, for example, make huge inroads into tackling drug use.
“What is abundantly clear is there is no one response to the drugs crisis but today’s decision provides one hugely positive step forward to taking that international learning and putting it into practice.
“It doesn’t mean a soft approach to drug dealing as is sometimes misrepresented.
“It is part of a response but not the only one.”
North East Scottish Conservative shadow justice spokesman Liam Kerr said: “The SNP knows illegal drugs destroy lives and wreck families so this is a deeply concerning extension of the SNP’s soft touch justice agenda.
“Scotland currently has the highest drug death rate in Europe and decriminalisation is not the answer.”
Glasgow Central MP Alison Thewliss said: “We have a public health crisis in Scotland yet UK ministers continue to block plans to take vital action, dismiss overwhelming evidence in support of a supervised drug consumption facilities and refuse to come and see for themselves the scale of the problem – despite me having asked countless times.
“The UK Government’s cavalier attitude towards Scotland’s drugs emergency is simply appalling.
“Conference delegates have reaffirmed the SNP’s commitment to supervised drug consumption facilities in Scotland.
“The weight of evidence in support of these facilities has never been more compelling and it is imperative that action is taken now.
“UK drugs law is not working for Scotland.”