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Parliament Must Maintain Consensus on Drugs Strategy

>> Thursday, 8 November 2012

Now is not the time to question our commitment to Scotland’s drugs strategy, the SNP has said, following a debate in Parliament.

Parliament received an update on the significant progress made in implementing the ground-breaking 2008 strategy Road to Recovery – which was backed unanimously by MSPs.

Today Labour MSP Jenny Marra broke ranks with that consensus by referring to pharmacists as ‘methadone millionaires’, accusing them of making ‘significant sums amounts of money from the suffering that drug addiction causes in our communities’.

North East MSP Mark McDonald – who spoke in this afternoon’s debate – said:

“The Road to Recovery was a ground-breaking strategy which rightly achieved the unanimous backing of the Scottish Parliament, but now this broad consensus appears to be under threat.

“Nobody said that it would be easy to implement, or happen overnight, but significant progress is being made and we should recognise that.

“It is disappointing to see an MSP referring to certain pharmacists as ‘methadone millionaires’, especially given that these health professionals are committed to doing what they can to help drug users and simply working to achieve the objectives set by MSPs from all parties.

“Jenny Marra’s views are not supported by the evidence, or by those working on the front line. A central theme of Road to Recovery was that there should be no preference as to the best method of recovery – every patient is an individual.

“For recovery to become a reality, we must not start to question our commitment to the strategy – all politicians must work to build on the progress that we have already made."

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