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MSP to submit ‘game-changing’ draft Right To Recovery Bill to tackle drug deaths

Douglas Ross will present draft right to recovery legislation to the Scottish Parliament on Monday (Paul Faith/PA)
Douglas Ross will present draft right to recovery legislation to the Scottish Parliament on Monday (Paul Faith/PA)

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross is to present “game-changing” draft legislation in Holyrood to tackle drug deaths.

Mr Ross is urging MSPs to rally behind the Right To Recovery Bill following a consultation which saw 77% of respondents in support of the plans.

The proposal would enshrine the right to receive “potentially life-saving” treatment including residential rehabilitation.

Addiction experts have been consulted throughout the process of drafting the Bill.

Mr Ross believes “radical but practical” action is needed to tackle drug deaths in Scotland.

He said: “Scotland has the worst record in Europe for drug deaths. This is a national tragedy that ought to shame the SNP Government who have presided over the huge rise in numbers.

“There is no one silver bullet in the fight against drug and alcohol deaths but I firmly believe Right To Recovery can be a game-changer.

“That’s because it has been drafted with the help of those with lived experience of addiction, and it will tackle one of the biggest obstacles to recovery those with addictions face: the scarcity of treatment available.

“Today it moves another step closer to the statute book, when I formally submit the final proposal to Parliament.

“I would urge MSPs from across the Parliament to back Right To Recovery. The current approach to drug and alcohol addiction clearly isn’t working, so radical but common-sense action is required – and this Bill is that.

“The response to it from stakeholders – including charities, support groups, tenants’ associations and churches – was overwhelmingly positive at the consultation stage. Now it’s time for us politicians to get it enacted.”

Drugs policy minister Angela Constance said she has an open mind about whether legislation is needed.

“Once the Bill has been published and I and others have had the opportunity to ensure that it will do what it says on the tin, I will give a view on it.

“I have an open mind about whether, at some point, we need to legislate.”

Ms Constance reiterated on Monday that she will want to see the Bill before a decision is taken on Scottish Government support.

“I’ve always said it will be given a very fair and sympathetic hearing,” she told BBC Radio Scotland.

“We will want to look at the detail – what they’re lodging today is a final proposition.”

She added: “I want to see their Bill. I’m not being unreasonable here or unhelpful – this is about how we make people’s rights real in practice on the ground.”

Even with the support of all opposition parties in Holyrood, the legislation would still not have enough votes to pass, meaning at least the Scottish Greens would have to support it, if not the SNP.