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Scotland's cats and dugs crises

The number of drug-related deaths has fallen in Scotland.

…a headline we should be celebrating and yet you willny see anyone boasting about it the day.

“It’s sh*te being Scottish”

Most obviously cos it’s grim reading regardless. Folk losing their loved ones and then hearing politicians on the tele throw statistics at each other for political gain as if it’s some morbid game ae PR tennis.

Trouble is it needs to be done. The harsh words need said. If we don’t look to our government to try and change things then what the hell are they there for?

& the brutal reality is when you’ve got that many drug deaths in Scotland each year you’d be struggling to find someone that husny been affected by one. That is an absolute sin.

Since 2008, drug deaths each year have doubled. It’s a scary statistic.

Folk will say aye Scots love a perty eh. When they go for it, they go hard. Sh*tebag if you dinnae.

But it isny party drugs. Well over 80% of these deaths came fae opioids such as heroin and morphine. 69% of these folk also had benzos in their system.

Aw of a sudden yer hinkin right… this is way deeper. These are the type ae things even party-goers say naw right too far. This is out yer face, escape reality for as long and dunt-worthy as possible.

The first hing that sprung to mind for me was mental health and the internet. Internet and social media have been a stick on for heightening anxiety. Folk are mare para than they’ve ever been and I don’t think that alignment in trend is a coincidence… no saying the internet has put everyone on the scag but I think social media has been a massive influence in the mental health epidemic and I hink there’s surely something in that.

If yer in poorer areas, the reports have said the likelihood of drug death is 15 fold. Unsurprising that the less fortunate lose out again eh… if you’ve hee haw dosh wi hee haw tae dae anyway, and need an escape from a poverty-ridden environment, one that’s been abandoned by those at the top cos everyone looks efter themsels anyway… yer gonna need a hit of something. Some folk keep it under control wi a stiff bevy… no as easy for everyone but. And that’s hardly a choice… it's human nature to seek comfort. Basic fight or flight.

A lot of this isny news but. We’ve heard aw this for years. Deep-rooted societal issues of things like unemployment, underfunded communities, mental health n aw that is hardly ground-breaking stuff. We’re no a kick in the erse off Trainspotting’s 30 year anniversary.

…and opposition to the Scottish Government, made up of parties whose main focus is to deliver independence from what they claim to be a backwards-thinking United Kingdom, will point out that the dramatic increase is near enough on the money when the SNP first came into power. Scotland is worse than anywhere else in Europe. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon herself even admitted to having her “eye off the ball” on this issue in a televised debate before the last election.

She admits it’s a “national disgrace” but what’s actually being done like? The Scottish Government are insistent they’re hurling dosh at it but then Opposition say naw yous have actually cut funding over the years.

The statistics ping pong does ma box in by way. We need better dialogue than that. It’s pish poor and dumbs down the conversation.

There is some work being done but.

Some of you will mind the feud between Lorna Slater and Murdo Fraser on the Untribal Podcast last year.

Slater suggests that it is the criminal environment that drugs use is put in that makes it dangerous. The sooner we accept that people use drugs and start helping people with it, the safer people will become. Look at Portugal, for example, who’ve decriminalised everyhin and is leading the way in Europe.

Fraser went right hud on a second… lets no tell kids drugs are actually sound to use and its aw to do wi the environment we’ve created. The moderate use of drugs can be harmful anaw. He and the Conservatives are calling for a right to recovery. They say when you engage with folk wi addiction issues, most ae them say the biggest problem is a lack of places to go to rehabilitate our problems in a safe and quality environment.

Critics will say that’s a plaster over the bleeding wound… others will say aye we get that, but that’s no to say other hings canny be done to tackle the bigger issues like poverty that is driving it.

What concerns me is that I’ve had to contact these politicians, get them onto my podcast and claw it out ae them. Where is aw this conversation in Parliament? Where’s the legislation? As Mark, fae Peep Show, before that infamous presentation to the board at JLB would say: “What have we actually got? What am I going to present… where’s the actual sustenance? Where’s the beef?”

…until he realises: “We’ve got nothing. We’ve got f*cking nothing, Gerard. You pr*ck!”

Excuse the language, but the frustration towards a lack of action merits the quote. It’s like listening to Shaun Maloney talk about high press after watching Hibs knock it along the back line for 90 minutes at a snail’s pace. The talk is big but how are we actually daein it?

I get the impression SNP are fence-sitting. It’s like they’re that para about displeasing someone that might vote independence so they’re deciding against setting out a definitive, potentially rash position.

And to be fair, they’ll point out that although the distribution of budgets towards health issues is a devolved right to the Scottish Parliament, drug laws are reserved to Westminster. The Scottish Government dinnae have all the levers required to make drastic change… and it is a drastic change that’s needed. Another example, some might think, of different countries, with different problems, in need of different action.

Either way, the dilly dally from the political class is concerning. We canny have Scotland’s heroin problem being our thing. As in that thing that folk go aye they’re bad for that eh.

We’ve made the bananae flats in Leith a Grade A listed building because of the culture that it signifies… no an actual landmark of how junked oot our nation is.

We need a change in gear… excuse the pun.


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