By the Scottish Government

Internationally, there is growing recognition of the harms that punitive drug policies cause, and a movement towards harm minimization and health efforts instead of traditional criminalization, law enforcement and abstinence based responses.

There is a commitment in Scotland to reduce drug harms and the alarming recent growth of drug related deaths. However, the justice system’s ability to reorient its approach towards people who use drugs is constrained by the current UK law, notwithstanding recent developments elsewhere in the UK, which illustrate the potential for localised innovation.

This paper gives an overview of seven case studies in drug law reform approaches from five countries. It aims to support Scottish Government research and policy development regarding drug law and enforcement, and the work of the Drug Deaths Taskforce in identifying successful interventions and locating them within their legal and policing contexts.