Below is a slightly edited version of the speech Steven Campbell hoped to give at #SNP19 on Drug Policy.
When it comes to drug deaths in this country we are in the midst of a public health emergency. Up until recently, I took a small-c Conservative attitude towards the drug problem we face in our society. Reading some of the statistics surrounding drug deaths and hearing some of the stories from those that are directly affected by it force me to completely re-evaluate my attitude.
I think as a society we like to stick our heads in the sand and pretend that everything is fine. But it is not. Hundreds of people are losing loved ones.
What we are doing now isn’t working - we need to change and we need to change now.
We must first change our attitudes towards drugs and those that use them. We need to rid ourselves of the stereotype surrounding addiction - it is something that is across classes, across generations and across genders.
At this point I must mention Alison Thewliss MP for all of her hard work in safe injection facilities.
I admit safe injection facilities are uncomfortable to talk about, but it is something we must at the very least seriously consider. It allows people access to a safe environment where they use clean equipment, and that there is health staff around that can look after them. It allows for a safer environment for the public, as it helps keep used syringes off the streets.
The misuse of drugs act - a reserved matter - has been in force for decades. The world has changed and we cannot afford to hang around waiting for Westminster to suddenly decide that it cares about people.
We all know Westminster never will care.
People are dying and we need to act now to save their lives.