By Scottish Government

The first meeting of the new Taskforce set up to address drug deaths in Scotland will take place on 17 September 2019.

The group, chaired by Professor Catriona Matheson of the University of Stirling, has 23 members with a broad range of expertise and experience in this field.

The Taskforce will examine the main causes of drug deaths, will promote action to improve health outcomes for people who use drugs, and will advise what changes, in practice or in the law, could help save lives.

The expert group will also consider the impact of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 on taking a public health approach to this emergency, including proposals to provide harm reduction services, such as medically supervised overdose prevention rooms.

The first meeting follows a commitment made in the Programme for Government to spend an additional £20 million over the next two years to reduce the harm caused by drugs. The funding will also allow the Taskforce to provide direct support to projects which use evidence-based approaches to tackle the issue.