SNP's @AnneMcLaughlin: 'Banning psychoactive drugs reduces risk'

Party back new bans in the drug market - but Tory MP protests

THE SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY have supported a deepening war on new forms of psychoactive drugs after new laws were passed at the Westminster parliament.

So called 'legal highs' have become an anomaly to the wider prohibition on drug use in the UK, which arrests and prosecutes dealers and users of banned substances.

The SNP, which recently faced calls to support drug decriminalisation, supported the new legislation to criminalise sales of new psychoactive drugs on the basis that its illegality would "reduce the risk posed by these substances".

Anne McLaughlin MP, the SNP spokesperson on Civil Liberties, commenting on the Psychoactive Substances Bill, said: "This legislation follows important action already taken by the Scottish Government to tackle those who would exploit our young people and put their safety at risk with these dangerous new drugs.

"Making psychoactive substances unlawful, less visible and less available will reduce the risk posed by these substances - so it is vital that this legislation works for Scotland and I urge the UK government to work with the Scottish Government and Crown Office to ensure it does.

"Of course legislation alone is not enough, and that's why the SNP Scottish Government will continue to support effective education on drugs and their risks for the people of Scotland, as well as investing in drug and alcohol treatment services."

Medical expert professor David Nutt previously called on the SNP to use its new influence at Westminster to push for a change to drug legislation .

Former SNP justice minister Kenny MacAskill has called for drug decriminalisation.

The drugs debate saw Tory MP Crispin Blunt warn a ban would be "fantastically stupid", as it would drive users into the hands of criminal gangs.

"I use poppers. I out myself as a popper user and would be directly affected by this legislation."

"Driving the supply of these underground simply puts it in the hands of criminals," he added.

Drug reform campaigners warn that the underground sale of drugs increases risk through an unregulated marketplace.

Deaths from illegal drugs have hit a record high in Scotland , with the latest figures identifying 613 drug related deaths in 2014 alone.

The Scottish Green Party and the Scottish Socialist Party, now part of the Rise coalition, support drugs reform to reduce overdoses.

The leaders of the Labour Party, Plaid Cymru, the Liberal Democrats and even Tory leader David Cameron have previously spoken out in favour of drug reform. However, the two main UK parties remain opposed to decriminalisation in their party policy.

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Picture courtesy of epSos .de