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Ross urges Scottish Parliament to back Right to Recovery Bill

By Alan Beresford

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MORAY MP Douglas Ross is urging the SNP government to support his landmark Right to Recovery Bill to tackle Scotland’s drug death crisis.

Moray MP and MSP Douglas Ross. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Moray MP and MSP Douglas Ross. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

His call comes after his proposals earned the necessary support to bring it before the Scottish Parliament.

The bill would enshrine in law the right of everyone who needs it, including where appropriate, residential rehabilitation.

Mr Ross drafted the bill in consultation with experts who support those suffering from drug and alcohol addiction, including charity FAVOR Scotland.

The proposals were also supported by over three-quarters of respondents during its consultation period.

He is now urging SNP and Green MSPs, including Moray MSP Richard Lochhead to back the plans to guarantee a Right to Recovery will become law as quickly as possible.

Mr Ross said: “I’m delighted my Right to Recovery Bill has earned the support it needs to now be debated in the Scottish Parliament.

“I truly believe this bill can be a game-changer in tackling the record drug deaths in Scotland, which is our national shame.

“Constituents in Moray have spoken to me about this issue and I believe they see the plan to enshrine the right to access treatment in law as a major step forward.

“I was proud to draft the bill in conjunction with frontline experts and those with experiences of living with addiction.

“Now I hope SNP MSPs including Richard Lochhead give my bill their backing in parliament so those who urgently need support in Moray know they will be able to access it as quickly as possible. The Scottish Government can support this and it will pass or they can refuse to back it and we will make no progress on an issue that gets worse every year, with more and more people needlessly losing their lives.

“I am pleased that the plans for a Right to Recovery have progressed a step further in parliament and I urge every MSP to support the bill.”

According to figures from the National Records of Scotland, in 2020 there were 1339 drug-related deaths registered in Scotland. This was five per cent more than in 2019 and the largest number since records began in 1996.

Scotland’s drug-death rate is three-and-a-half times worse than the rest of the UK and the worst in Europe. In 2019, the Scottish drug death rate stood at 234 drug-related deaths per million, compared with 65 per million for the UK. When compared with the rest of Europe, Scotland also has the highest number of drug-deaths per capita, with the next largest death rate coming from Sweden and Norway. (NRS, Drug Deaths in Scotland 2020, 30 July 2021, link).

Drugs Minister Angela Constance said she would give Right to Recovery “a fair and sympathetic hearing” when asked about it in an interview on BBC Good Morning Scotland on May 30, 2022. She said: “In terms of the proposition put forward by Douglas Ross and his colleagues, I’ve always said it would be given a fair and sympathetic hearing.”

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