In a historic move, Scotland will open a hotline to provide professional help and comfort while people are taking drugs.
A toll-free telephone line called “Never Use Alone” will be made available to those who use illegal drugs. The goal is to reduce the country's record number of drug-related deaths in recent years.
The newspaper reports that the service will start later this month, with a trial period in Glasgow and shortly thereafter across the country.
Drug Policy Minister Angela Constance said: “I am delighted to have this telephone line operated by We Are With You which will undoubtedly play a role in tackling the Scottish drug crisis. Many of those people who lost their lives while taking drugs were alone at the time and I encourage people to take advantage of this service – the first of its kind in Europe – to help them stay safe. While supporting this service, we will also continue to work to overcome existing legal barriers to implementing safe consumption spaces in Scotland.”
The hotline, 0808 801 0690, is operated by the charity We Are With You and is supported by the Scottish Government.
We Are With You's Executive Director Andrew Horne told iNews:
“The magnitude of the problem we face in Scotland requires urgent, radical action and we are committed to doing everything we can to address this crisis. This phone line is about protecting people.
Our employees make sure that they know what substances a person has ingested and what he plans to take. They also know exactly where they are in case emergency services are needed. “
Drug-related deaths in Scotland on the rise
A total of 2020 people died from drug abuse in 1.339 Scotland. It was the seventh year in a row that Scotland set a new record.
Meanwhile, Scotland recently announced new measures that will effectively decriminalize possession of illicit drugs.
Scotland's top law officer Dorothy Bain QC said: “Police officers may therefore choose to issue a registered police warning for simple offenses of possession of all types of drugs.
“The aim of the scheme is for individuals to be referred to a mentor to provide support on first contact with the police.”
In Scotland, police officers could issue warnings to anyone caught in possession of Class B and Class C drugs; under the new guidelines, this practice will be extended to class A drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and LSD.