Ian Hamilton: What will covid-19 mean for the illegal drug market and  people dependent upon it? - The BMJ

Drug deaths is not a subject for any kind of humour, political posturing of or smart arsery.

So it has been a matter of some concern over the last few years when the Conservatives in Scotland have made political capital out of the undoubtedly disastrous number of deaths in Scotland.

Although I have no intention to competing with the Tories and their pet newspapers and broadcasters on this subject, it would be remis of me not to mention a few points that come to mind on the subject.

The first and most obvious point is that Policy on Drugs is reserved to Westminster. The Scottish government has looked into how other countries in Europe have dealt with the problem. [We talked about this before, particularly with regard to what has been done in Switzerland (thanks to Terry) and what has been done in Portugal (thanks to Miguel)].

Portugal Set to Introduce Its First Drug Consumption Room | TalkingDrugs
Portugal clean room.

As I recall the Scottish Government opened a Clean Room in Glasgow a few years ago only to receive orders from Westminster to close it down as it was illegal.

I don’t doubt the idea of “clean rooms” and of needle exchanges , or the notion of legalising some drugs and introducing some sort of quality control, so that they are no longer so potentially deadly, is contentious. Legalising or allowing trained supervision of drug taking (and therefor seemingly condoning it) lights fires under some people.

Personally I’m for it. The results where it has been pioneered appear to be good and it really is being done or under serious consideration all over Europe.

Drug rooms: Admirers eye Copenhagen model - BBC News
Denmark clean room.

At the moment we sell cigarettes, which kill… and that appears to be OK as long as we put a gruesome picture of some cancerous part of the body on the packet along with the words “Smoking Kills”.

Ireland Takes Steps Toward First Drug Consumption Room | TalkingDrugs
Ireland clean room.

We also happily sell alcohol, which we all know is good stuff (hic… and not in the Latin meaning), but for some people it is highly addictive and causes serious medical problems and, in many cases, death. (My own father, an uncle and an aunt died from excess alcohol consumption.) Added to that it is at the root of so much of our domestic and street violence and, of course, road accidents.

Of course, we can control what is in our cigarettes and cigars and what is our alcohol, so one puff on your legal cigarette or one sip of your legal whisky isn’t going to kill you.

A fair number of deaths might be avoided if we were able to do that with our currently illegal drugs.

I was amused the other day to read that some people were absolutely determined not about to take the vaccine for Covid, because they didn’t know what was in it. But how do people know what is in the pill or powder they just bought for a tenner from a bloke in the close beside the pub or in the toilets of the nightclub?

But we can’t do that without Britain’s (England’s) permission.

These people are broken': Why the UK's war on drugs has failed | Drugs | Al  Jazeera
UK…erm… clean… um… yeah!

Along with making sure that the drugs that are being consumed are clean, uncontaminated and in the right (non deadly) quantities, clean rooms also provide help and encouragement to people to get them off drugs and medical staff are there to spot the first signs of infection setting in.

Another point that I have forgotten about, although it has been brought up in the past, is that Scotland counts drug deaths differently from England.

I’m not sure of the veracity of this particular information. Maybe someone can confirm or deny. I would do more research myself, but I fear that my computer is breathing its last. It has taken me well over an hour to type this out. (Munguin, can I have a new computer, please?)

I’m obliged to Roddy for providing this information, almost completely denouncing what this says. Given that, can anyone suggest why Scotland is so much worse than the UK where is so many ways we are much better than the UK, and why Romania has the best figures in Europe.

25 thoughts on “DRUGS DEATHS”

  1. Our tragically high drug deaths figure may very well be due in part to some anomalous statistics gathering method, misrepresenting the extent of the problem. I don’t know. It may be due in part to our Scottish government being decidedly unwilling to aggressively challenge Westminster on, well, anything really. That’s up for debate. On the other hand, I’ve always associated this kind of chronic drug use with deprivation of one sort or another. Mostly poverty driven. Can our English owned Unionist opposition parties righteously take any moral high ground when it’s their own establishments grip on our country that’s the principle cause of said poverty? The simple answer to that is of course they can because they don’t see it like that at all. Oh no perish the thought because honest, it’s not a load of bollocks, we really are ‘stronger together’.

    Denial alas, continues to be very much alive and well in north Britain, with a good basin full of apathy thrown in. The poor and the disenfranchised are being left behind, social services cut to the bone, state subsidised subsistence wages, benefits continually squeezed, goal posts changing etc, foodbanks etc, NHS etc, etc… So as a result of all this togetherness, we have social problems. Gasp! Who’d ever have thunk it?

    Every nation gets the government it deserves and humour, political posturing and smart arsery is all we seem to be getting so what does that say about us?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Obviously all the Drug deaths within Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 are the fault of the Yoons.
    If it wasn’t for them and their slavish
    Worship of thé Dastardly Union.

    The wunnerful snp would be able to enact laws and policies to end this terrible health crisis…

    Yoons bow 🙇‍♀️ your heids in shame .

    Things are counted differently in snp land….

    Yeah we have got that one ☝️.

    I kicked the habit a long time ago it wasn’t caused by the saltire 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 and it wasn’t stopped by the Union 🇬🇧 .

    It was stopped by me with some support and it was horrible …
    As for alcohol 🍺 ah well alcohol!
    Alcohol! alcohol!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s a bit like saying people died from respiratory failure,when they actually had contracted Covid19.
    The root cause of drug/alcohol addiction is the symptom,not the root cause which is in the main down to tory failures.
    Deprivation can seriously damage your health but you won’t read that on any warnings from HM government.
    Whether we like it or not,in the end it is down to political choices made by politicians which affect peoples’ lives.
    Unfortunately,the government we elected in our country has limited choices available to it being constrained by Westminster dogma.
    It is political.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep in an Independent Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 yay 😀 be no drug addiction or any at addiction at all .
      Or crime unemployment peeps will live on average about 200 years at leat
      Wow 🤩 be bit like being heaven


      1. Nobody has ever said that Niko, as well you know. The fact remains treating drug addiction as a health problem instead of a criminal offence will cut both the crime rate and the death rate at a single stroke.

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Is there something specific about the Fact Ferret position on this that you take issue with?
      If it needs correction though so be it, but make the case eh?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Who, Jake.

        I have no reason to disagree with Ferret.

        I left the figures up with an explanation (I hope that it’s gone up… my computer is playing up) because if I removed the figures, then Roddy’s post would have looked a bit pointless.


        1. Thanks for the link to the Ferret piece…I hadn’t read it .
          I had though, pretty much came to the same conclusion as the Ferret.
          My post ( which was in response to Roddy’s) was that if he has reservations about the Ferret piece, I’d like to hear what these are.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Food banks are becoming a part of everyday living, this in the 6th richest ‘country’ in the WOrld.
    People in work are using food banks and are being supported by benefits, these benefits do not allow them to have confidence they will be able to meet their living needs.
    The government call it the ‘Living Wage’.
    Children witnessing hunger for some of their lives.
    The statistics on deaths are manipulated just like the stats on everything else, inflation is said to be around 2% but I predict that in September it will be lower, September is the month when the pensions rise is calculated.
    Pensions are in a Triple Lock, that will be dumped as not affordable but at the same time benefits are not being raised by the inflation rate.
    Energy prices are set to increase, just in time for winter when we use much more.
    This is your caring sharing government.
    The West of Shetland oil and gas field production is not landed in Scotland and is taken by tanker directly to Englandland, a third of their natural gas is taken from these fields.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Just as the causes of drug addiction, indeed any addiction, are many so must be the solutions. Yes drugs policy is reserved and yes the Westminster government refuse to allow clean rooms. Yes their economic policies have caused devastation in many communities leading to increased drug usage. Yes the Trainspotting generation’s health is finally failing.

    However, it was not Westminster that cut funds for rehab, that was Nicola Sturgeon’s government and she did so despite being warned what the consequences would be. There have also been large cuts to Public Health, the NHS bodies that runs addiction services, and of course are currently at the sharp end of dealing with Covid. In addition to helping people overcome addiction and ensuring they don’t die if they can’t, you need to prevent people becoming addicted in the first place – once again it’s Public Health that run prevention and health promotion programmes. There needs to be investment in mental health services and programmes that reduce health inequalities and indeed inequalities in general.

    But this is hard work, and needs strategic planning. A government filled with pals and serial failures that sidelines those with ability will not deliver this. In the meantime people die and families grieve as Tris’ sad story regarding alcohol testifies.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Whatever you do, don’t replicate the drugs amnesty park that Zurich had in the late 80s . A drugs amnesty was declared in a park just opposite the main railway station. It became an attraction for for addicts and dealers from all over Europe and people just ended up basically living there. In the end, it became a public health risk and it was abandoned. Families have picnics in it now.

    The replacement was heroin prescription for registered addicts at drug centres. Addicts can lead productive lives if they have a secure supply and breaking the link with criminality just seems like an obvious step.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Sorry for not answering any comments.

    Computer on the blink. It takes ages for it to do anything.

    Must get another one.

    May be away for a few days while this happens.


  8. My thoughts were to largely replicate bits of Netherlands and Portuguese policy, in that people were allowed 3 plants for their own use – but only up to a certain strength/THC content. Stronger drugs available from a national agency, but un-licensed dealing is illegal. Quality thus is controlled, thus stopping powders being cut with others. That way, you know who’s having issues and you can talk to them…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, it seems to have resolved itself.



      And you think that Alberta in Canada, versus the rest of the world, is the way to go?


      Liked by 1 person

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