The Scottish Government has established a new taskforce to address drug-related deaths in the country. The first meeting of the taskforce will be held on 17 September 2019.
The taskforce includes 23 members with a wide range of expertise and experience, and will be headed by Professor Catriona Matheson of the University of Stirling. It plans to investigate the leading causes of drug deaths, promote action to improve health outcomes for drugs users and propose changes required in practice or in the law to help save lives.
The group will also consider the effect of the 'Misuse of Drugs Act 1971' on taking a public health approach to drug deaths. A key proposal from the group is establishing medically supervised overdose prevention rooms as an effective harm reduction intervention.
Joe FitzPatrick, The Public Health Minister, said: "What Scotland faces in terms of drug deaths is an emergency – addressing that will need new approaches even if at first they may be challenging. Our new Taskforce has the desire and the experience required to tackle this problem."