First Minister admits Scottish Government should have “done more earlier” to tackle drug deaths

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Nicola Sturgeon on drug deaths - Health News Scotland
The First Minister called Scotland’s record on drug deaths a “national disgrace”

SCOTLAND’s First Minister has admitted the government should have “done more earlier” to tackle high levels of drug addiction across the country.

In a statement to Parliament, the First Minister said a “national mission” was needed to turn things, around following the drug related deaths of 1,264 Scots in 2019.

Speaking at Holyrood, Nicola Sturgeon said: “Anyone who ends up losing their life as a result of drug addiction, is not just failed at the time of their death – in most cases, they will have been failed repeatedly throughout their whole life.

“I believe that if we have the will, we can and we will find the ways to stop this happening.

“Doing so requires a national mission to end what is currently a national disgrace.

Holyrood Scottish parliament - Health News Scotland
The statements were made by the FM at an address to Holyrood. (

“It is a reasonable criticism to say that this government should have done more earlier, and I accept that.

“But I am determined that we will provide this national mission with the leadership, focus, and resources that it needs.”

Following the address, the Scottish Government has pledged £250 million in funding to improve and increase services for people affected by drug addiction.

Following talks with those with the Drug Deaths Taskforce as well as organisations and individuals with lived experienced, an additional £50 million will be allocated every year for the next five years.

2019 saw a record number of Scots die from drug related deaths and a report from the National Records of Scotland reveals that Scotland has the highest drug death for all EU countries.